Injured in a Crash With a Distracted Driver? Know Your Rights!
According to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there were 247,214 traffic crashes in the state in 2020. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of collisions. The DMV notes that “19.9% of the crashes in North Carolina involved a distracted driver.” However, the actual figure may be even higher—distracted driving is largely self-reported in North Carolina.
You might wonder: What are my rights if I was hurt in a crash with a distracted driver? Distracted driving is negligence, so you have the right to hold a distracted driver legally responsible for your accident and injuries. Here, our auto accident lawyer at Green Mistretta Law, PLLC, provides an overview of the critical things you should know if you were hurt in a crash with a distracted driver in North Carolina.
Background: Distracted Driving is Dangerous Driving
To operate a motor vehicle safely, a driver’s full attention should be on the road. Distracted driving is dangerous driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 3,142 lives were lost due to distracted driving in 2020 alone. Though, once again, the problem is likely far worse than that, as distracted driving is systematically underreported.
Distracted driving includes any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the road, such as using a cell phone, eating, applying makeup, or even just daydreaming. Distracted driving is dangerous because:
- It takes a driver’s focus off of the road
- It slows reaction time
- It impairs judgment
- It can cause the driver to miss important visual and auditory cues
- It increases the likelihood of a mistake or misjudgment
Car Accident Liability is Based on Fault in North Carolina (Distracted Driving is Negligence)
In North Carolina, car accident liability is based on fault. In effect, this means that the person who caused the accident—through failure to take due care (negligence)—can be held legally and financially responsible for the damages. Distracted driving is considered negligence. It shows a disregard for the safety of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on or near the road.
How to Prove Distracted Driving in a Car Accident Claim
How do you prove that another driver was distracted? Every serious car crash in North Carolina requires a comprehensive investigation to determine precisely what happened and why it happened. A proactive analysis will help ensure that you have access to all of the evidence that you will need to prove distracted driving, establish fault, and recover compensation. Some forms of evidence that can be relevant in a distracted driving accident claim include:
- Witness statements
- Admissions against interest (by another driver)
- The police report
- Cell phone records
- Photos of vehicle damage and the crash scene
Recovering Compensation for a Distracted Driving Accident in North Carolina
Were you or a loved one injured in a distracted driving accident in North Carolina? You have the right to hold the distracted driver legally liable for the full amount of your damages, including out-of-pocket expenses and non-economic losses. Sadly, you cannot trust insurance companies to look out for your best interests. Our distracted driving accident attorneys help victims and families maximize their financial recovery, including for:
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Emergency room treatment
- Hospital bills and other medical expenses
- Lost wages and loss of earning power
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or disfigurement
- Wrongful death of a family member
Do Not Wait to Get Started: Statute of Limitations in Distracted Driving Accident Claims
Under North Carolina law (General Statute § 1-52(16)), the statute of limitations for a distracted driving accident is generally three years from the date of the collision. You must initiate a claim within this period to have a right to pursue compensation. Do not fall behind the legal process. Key evidence may be lost. Consult with a North Carolina distracted driving injury lawyer as soon as possible after a serious crash.
Set Up a Free Consultation With a North Carolina Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
The aftermath of a car accident can be devastating for victims. It is critical that victims obtain the compensation they are entitled to for the losses they suffered.
At Green Mistretta Law, PLLC, our experienced North Carolina auto accident attorneys strongly advocate for victims and families. If you or your loved one was hurt in a crash with a distracted driver, we are here to help. Reach out to us by phone or connect with us online to set up your free case review. With a legal office in Wake Forest, our attorneys represent injured victims throughout the area, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Morrisville, Chapel Hill, and Hillsborough.