distracted driving in Wilmington north carolina

Eager to embrace the reopening of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge with a selfie one morning on the way to work, Sarah barely registered the frantic honking until a blur of blue slammed into the side of her car as she approached the intersection of Market St and 10th, a moment too late.

A powerful wave jolted through her new Toyota RAV4, t-boning her car’s side and shaking her back to reality. She turned slowly, shocked, looking up to see the aftermath of a moment’s distraction and carelessness – a crumpled fender and the dazed expression of the driver who had hit her, and quite possibly, a few broken ribs of her own. 

But what if the driver that Sarah hit was you, causing you to miss work, lose your job, causing you traumatic, recurring pain and to fall on hard times?

If only she’d decided against taking that picture during rush hour traffic and posting it to her Instagram account, both of you might not be headed to the hospital. And you wouldn’t be faced with a lot of uncertainty and a massive uphill battle that awaits you.

For times like these, it’s a good idea to seek a personal injury attorney to help you sort through this process, especially when you consider the average insurance claim on a private auto is now over $10,000 as of 2022.

Wilmington is Dealing with a Growing Number of Distracted Drivers

We can all agree: sharing the road is a delicate balance.

That’s why everyone behind the wheel has a crucial role to play in ensuring the safety of themselves and others. However, a growing threat disrupts this vital focus: distracted driving.

Distracted driving occurs any time a driver’s attention is diverted from the road, hands, or eyes needed for safe operation. It can take many forms, from the ever-present temptation of texting to adjusting the radio or simply letting your mind wander.

The problem with distracted driving is its deceptive nature. Unlike speeding or drunk driving, it often feels harmless in the moment. But the consequences can be severe. By taking our focus off the road, even for a brief moment, we gamble with the safety of ourselves, our passengers, and everyone else on the road.

Texting While Driving is a Major Cause of Automobile Crashes and Accidents

Nearly 1 in 10 automobile accidents can be attributed to distracted driving alone, and the number one cause is texting or accessing a mobile device while operating the vehicle.

Distracted Driving BehaviorEstimated %
Talking or Texting on Phone30
Using Navigation System or Radio15
Eating or Drinking10
Grooming or Applying Makeup5
Talking to Passengers10
Daydreaming, Upset, or Lost in Thought20

Note: These are estimated percentages based on the most recent data

Distracted Driving Deaths: In 2022, distracted driving was a factor in an estimated 3,308 fatalities on US roads according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Distracted Driving Crashes: It’s important to note that fatalities only represent a portion of the problem. The NHTSA doesn’t provide state-specific data on distracted driving crashes, but nationally, distracted driving was reported as a factor in 8.1% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2020.

What Are My Rights and Compensation if I Am Injured by a Distracted Driver in a Car Accident?

In North Carolina, texting while driving is illegal. If you’re injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages.

Here’s a breakdown of your rights:

  • Right to Compensation: You have the right to pursue compensation for various losses, including:
    • Medical bills (past, present, and future)
    • Lost wages (due to missed work or reduced earning capacity)
    • Pain and suffering (physical and emotional distress)
    • Property damage (car repairs or replacement)
  • Basis for Claim: North Carolina follows a “fault” system in car accidents. This means you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company to recover damages. To win your case, you’ll need to prove the distracted driver’s negligence caused your accident and injuries.
  • Evidence of Distracted Driving: Evidence can come from various sources, such as:
    • Police reports mentioning distracted driving behavior (texting, talking on phone, etc.)
    • Witness testimonies
    • Video footage (dashcam or traffic cameras)
    • Phone records (if texting was involved, but with limitations due to privacy laws)
  • Comparative Fault: North Carolina applies a comparative negligence rule. This means any fault you share in the accident will reduce your compensation amount. For example, if you’re found 20% at fault, your damage award will be reduced by 20%.

An injury lawyer can significantly maximize your compensation in several ways:

  • Investigating Thoroughly: A lawyer will gather evidence to prove the distracted driver’s fault, including witness statements, police reports, and potentially phone records (with limitations).
  • Negotiating with Insurance: Insurance companies try to minimize payouts. A lawyer understands negotiation tactics and can fight for a fair settlement that reflects your damages.
  • Understanding Medical Care: Lawyers can work with medical professionals to understand the full extent of your injuries and project future medical needs, which strengthens your case.
  • Court Representation: In complex cases or if the insurer is unreasonable, a lawyer will represent you in court.

Get an Attorney Who Knows What to Do If You Were Hit by a Distracted Driver

Have you been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver in North Carolina? Don’t navigate the legal process alone. Get an experienced legal team ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. 

Look for a law office with convenient locations in Wadesboro and Wilmington, ready to serve you with 4 and 5-star reviews. Contact a qualified attorney today for a free consultation and get back on your feet. Remember, time limits may apply, so don’t delay in seeking legal advice. 

Call your local Wilmington Personal Injury Attorney today!

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