We live in a wireless world, and our devices follow us everywhere, including the car. While a smartphone or other device can help drivers avoid traffic and get to destinations without having to consult a map or ask for directions, they also serve as major distractions. Distracted drivers are a danger on roads across the country and the cause of many North Memphis motor vehicle accidents.
Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenvu, & Montesi PLC (GKBM) is a law firm dedicated to holding distracted drivers accountable and securing financial justice for accident victims. If you have been hurt by a distracted driver, contact us to speak with a North Memphis personal injury lawyer who will fight to get you the settlement you deserve.
Distracted Driving Explained
Though most probably think of drivers who text, talk on their cellphones, or scroll through social media or online sites as “distracted,” digital diversions are not the only possible distracting activities. When drivers eat or drink, adjust the car’s temperature, become absorbed in the scenery around them, apply makeup, participate in a heated argument, or engage in anything that takes their attention off the road, they are driving while distracted.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) categorizes three types of distracted driving:
- Visual distractions occur when drivers take their eyes off the road
- Manual distractions occur when drivers take their hands off the steering wheel
- Cognitive distractions occur when drivers are mentally pre-occupied
Texting is one of the most dangerous distractions for drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that reading or sending a text takes the driver’s eyes off the road for a full five seconds. When driving at 55 miles per hour, that five-second diversion is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with closed eyes.
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Consequences of Distracted Driving
The consequences of distracted driving are often deadly. The NHTSA reports 3,142 fatalities from distracted driving accidents for the most recent full year of data collection. According to the CDC, that number represents nine deaths every day.
The CDC also reports 424,000 injuries caused by distracted drivers. One of every five distracted-driver victims was a non-vehicle occupant, including pedestrians and cyclists.
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Tennessee’s Distracted Driving Laws
The State of Tennessee takes distracted driving seriously and has enacted laws to deter these behaviors.
Tennessee law bans all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating a vehicle and from texting while driving. These are primary laws, which means law enforcement can issue a citation even if the driver has not committed another traffic offense.
All the following behaviors are illegal for drivers under Tennessee’s Hands-Free Laws, Code 55-8-199:
- Holding a cell phone or mobile device with any part of the body
- Writing, sending, or reading text-based communication
- Reaching for a cell phone or device in a way that compromises seated driving position or proper seat-belt restraint
- Watching videos on a cell phone or other device
- Recording or broadcasting video on a cell phone or mobile device
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In Tennessee, you only have one year from the date of your accident to file your injury claim. If you miss that legal due date, you lose your opportunity to receive compensation. This one-year timeframe is the general statute. Some accidents fall under special circumstances, such as if the at-fault party was driving a government-owned vehicle or is a government agent, and the deadline is shortened.
Since you can only receive a settlement if you prove the at-fault party’s distracted driving behavior caused the accident leading to your injuries and damages, you need to start collecting evidence to support your case quickly. It is best to reach out to GKBM and put your case in the hands of a distracted driving accident lawyer in North Memphis who knows how to investigate accident situations and compile convincing evidence.
You can count on your North Memphis distracted driving accident lawyer to pursue evidence from every possible avenue.
For example, your attorney may request the at-fault driver’s phone record to determine If the driver sent or received and opened a text, made a phone call, or was otherwise logged on to a digital distraction. Traffic or security cameras mounted at the accident scene can also provide revealing footage, and your lawyer will access that information.
Witness testimony can also help to support your case. With fast access to your situation, your lawyer is more likely to have success tracking down witnesses and collecting their testimony while their memories are still fresh.
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Damages Distracted Driving Accident Victims Can Recover
What you seek recovery for and how much of a financial settlement you demand depends on the specifics of your accident and the severity of your injuries and their consequences. An experienced distracted driving accident attorney in North Memphis will assess your situation with precision and thoroughness.
In most cases, you can expect a settlement to cover:
- Lost income, including wages lost to missed days at work and your future earnings if your injuries make it impossible for you to return to work or to earn at the same level as you did before your accident. These potential earnings include retirement or other job-related benefits
- Property damage if your vehicle, bicycle, or other property needs repair or replacement because of the accident
- Medical treatment for initial care, hospitalization, or testing, and your future accident-related care costs.
- Physical pain and emotional suffering for injuries that leave you disabled–even if only temporarily–and prevent you from enjoying life as you did before sustaining them
Punitive Damages and Wrongful Death Claims
In situations where a driver’s behavior is especially negligent, you may be entitled to punitive damages. These damages do not “restore” you, as the rest of your settlement does, but punish the offender for their appalling actions.
If your loved one is killed by a distracted driver, a distracted driving North Memphis lawyer can help you pursue a wrongful death claim to recover medical and end-of-life costs, lost income, and loss of a relationship.
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For almost five decades, GKBM has provided residents of North Memphis and the State of Tennessee with superior representation and successful case outcomes. We are ready to do the same for you. Call or send a message to arrange a free consultation with a skilled North Memphis distracted driving accident lawyer right away.
Your attorney will consider all aspects of your case with great care and work to secure the substantial settlement you need.