Smartphone usage is increasing more than ever, and motorists always want to be plugged in, even when operating a vehicle. Infotainment systems are another major distraction for drivers, although vehicle manufacturers market them as safer alternatives to cell phone usage.
The lives of accident victims are changed after a crash. Even worse, they may encounter many challenges in proving liability and obtaining compensation. Distracted driving victims are entitled to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. However, the claim process is best fought with the assistance of a Lakeland personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC.
Distracted Driving Crash Data
According to data from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were 9,404 distracted driving collisions in 2020, which is lower than the previous year. Over the ten years from 2010 to 2020, distracted driving accidents were the highest in 2017, with 24,871, with a slight decrease in the years following. The reason for fewer accidents in 2020 can be attributed to lockdowns and people working from home.
Shelby County had some of the highest numbers for distracted driving collisions overall, with over seven thousand collisions annually from 2016 to 2019. In 2020, distracted driving crashes were upwards of three thousand. Shelby County remains the top location for distracted driving collisions in the state. Distracted driving attorneys in the area have decades of experience helping victims of these collisions because they happen so often.
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Types of Lakeland Distracted Driving Actions
All it takes is for a driver to take their eyes off the road for a few seconds because of a distraction to cause a tragedy. There are many kinds of distractions, and it can be challenging to demonstrate that they contributed to the crash. Your Lakeland distracted driving accident attorney can gather evidence to show how a distraction played a part.
Texting and driving are synonymous with distracted driving. Accidents happen when drivers take their eyes off the road to look around their vehicle or at something outside. Reading a billboard or looking at someone in a shopping center takes precious seconds that lead to catastrophe.
Any activity that requires a driver to let go of the wheel is a manual distraction. Some examples include changing the radio, eating, drinking, grooming, adjusting the GPS, and more. Drivers must have both hands on the wheel, and removing one prevents them from driving safely.
Actions that take a driver’s mind off the road are cognitive distractions. It can be thinking about something or ”zoning out,” but it can also be talking to other passengers. Thinking about the day or when a driver needs to make a turn is also a common cognitive distraction.
It is essential for drivers to listen to the outside world for honking, emergency vehicles, screaming, or other signs of danger. Listening to podcasts, talking, or playing loud music are auditory distractions that prevent drivers from hearing their surroundings. These types of distractions are subjective to many because it is easy to argue that the music was not loud enough to interfere with an emergency signal.
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Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving
Distracted drivers in Lakeland can cause devastating injuries and losses for motorists. Aside from distraction, these drivers may also participate in other reckless behaviors like speeding. Combining distractions and recklessness results in head-on, rear-end, multicar and rollover collisions.
Head-on collision happens when drivers veer into oncoming traffic instead of ramming into the tail end of a car during a rear-end crash. Rollovers are the most harrowing accidents. They happen when the distracted driver is speeding and has to perform an evasive maneuver to avoid hitting someone or something.
Your distracted driving accident lawyer in Lakeland, TN, will ask you detailed questions to fully understand your circumstances. They can investigate and analyze the evidence to determine the best course of action.
Tennessee’s Law and Cell Phone Usage
There is a cell phone use law that many distracted drivers will attempt to use as a defense after a collision, but it rarely applies to their situation. Under the cell phone law, drivers can touch their cell phones once when making or receiving a call. Any other actions are illegal and warrant an infraction. The law applies to every age group and experience level.
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Comparative Fault for Lakeland Distracted Driving Accidents
Comparative fault in Tennessee means that the at-fault driver can place partial blame on the victim to lower their compensation recovery. This law can also benefit the plaintiff if their attorney can show that the other driver engaged in negligent activities during the accident.
If both drivers were using their cell phones when the collision occurred, then the court will compare how each person contributed to the accident and determine the percentage. When a plaintiff is less than 50% responsible, they can recover compensation.
If they are found more than 50% liable, they may recover no damages at all. Your GKBM distracted driving accident lawyers are well-versed in comparative negligence. We will work to lower the percentage of fault attributed to you as much as possible.
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Evidence Needed to Prove Negligence
Distracted driving cases are complex because the evidence is challenging to obtain. Your attorneys can request cell phone records when the distraction is cell phone use. However, evidence collection is different if the distraction is cognitive, auditory, or manual.
Your GKBM distracted driving accident attorney in Lakeland, TN, will need to find eyewitness statements, traffic camera footage, and more to prove the person was participating in these actions. They can request reports, speak with witnesses, and hire accident reconstruction experts to strengthen the claim.
Some evidence can only be collected through a subpoena which distracted driving lawyers can file. Cell phone records are the most challenging because they require going through the cell company that has many policies to protect their customers.
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Injury and death are common after distracted driving accidents, and victims must seek compensation for their losses. Families of deceased victims also have the right to seek payment for the loss of their loved one.
When you are the victim of a distracted driving collision, you must work with an exceptional Lakeland distracted driving attorney. Victims only pay for services if our team secures a settlement for you. Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, offers free initial consultations.
Contact our law offices to get started.