When you take your driving exam, you acknowledge that you must drive safely and avoid distractions. Other motorists have the same acknowledgment and understanding. However, many motorists believe they can drive safely with distractions, putting everyone on the road at risk.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed by the claims process, which is why many accident victims seek legal assistance from a Southaven personal injury lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC. Our experience handling these claims offers victims comfort, knowing they have someone in their corner.
Cell Phone Use by the Numbers
Cell phone-related car crashes are on the rise in Missouri, and reports show they increase yearly. Even with the high statistics, many of these collisions are underreported. AT&T reports that 9 in 10 people use their smartphones while driving.
Half of distracted driving accidents result in fatalities. In 2012, Missouri saw 71 deaths attributed to distracted driving, and 52% of distracted driving victims were someone other than the negligent driver. Men are more likely than women to drive distracted, and the highest number of accidents happen during May.
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Four Types of Distracted Driving in Southaven, MS
Motorists can partake in four types of distractions when on the road:
- Visual distractions take the motorists’ hands off the road.
- Manual distractions involve the driver taking their hands off the wheel.
- Auditory distractions prevent the driver from hearing surrounding noises such as emergency sirens.
- Cognitive distractions occupy a driver’s mind and take their attention away from driving.
Examples of distracted driving behaviors include texting, talking on the phone, eating, checking social media and other apps, grooming, and speaking with other passengers. Changing the radio station or song is another example that many drivers fail to consider a distraction. Drivers can become very distracted if they are searching for music or podcasts to play in the car on their smartphones.
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What to Do After a Southaven Distracted Driving Accident
After calling 911, you can take steps as an accident victim to protect your potential claim. Missouri law states that you must exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. You should also speak to any witnesses and get their contact information.
Victims must also report the accident to their insurance company and consult a lawyer.
Don’t Say You’re Sorry
After an accident, refrain from admitting fault or saying sorry and leave the liability talks for a Southaven distracted driving accident attorney. You should only share the basic details of what happened with anyone, including your insurance company. It is safest to turn over the negotiations and conversations to your lawyer.
After handling the basic steps of an accident claim, victims must refrain from posting on social media, gather all receipts and medical records available, and continue to seek treatment until they reach maximum medical improvement. The legal elements will be in the hands of the law firm, but victims must do their part to solidify the merits of their claim.
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Legal Options for Southaven Distracted Driving Collisions
Distracted driving accident victims can file an insurance claim and recover damages, or they can file a personal injury lawsuit. Before reaching a trial, the victim must go through the pre-litigation process and attempt to resolve the matter without involving the court. Pre-litigation is burdensome and involves investigative efforts and negotiations with the insurance company.
In addition to filing an insurance claim using the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, victims can file claims using personal insurance policies. The option to use a personal policy is available but unnecessary in most instances since all drivers must carry car insurance.
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Proving Negligence in Distracted Driving Collisions
Eyewitness testimony is essential for proving negligence when the at-fault motorist is distracted. Unbiased third-party witness statements strongly influence judges and juries because these parties gain nothing from their testimony.
Collecting other evidence is also essential to proving your claim. Distracted driving lawyers will pull cell phone records to validate your claim. It is important to use every strategy possible to strengthen the appearance of the other driver’s negligence.
When the case is incredibly complex, distracted driving attorneys can enlist the help of expert witnesses and accident reconstruction experts. Police reports can include testimony and advice on whether the driver was participating in distractions at the time of the collision. Traffic cameras and dashcams can also help prove negligence.
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Financial Recovery for Distracted Driving Victims
Victims of distracted driving suffer significant losses after accidents, and they must seek a legal remedy for their financial damage. Calculating losses requires a skilled distracted driving accident lawyer in Southaven, MS, with the experience and negotiation skills to work with the insurance company.
Adjusters are not looking out for the victims, so they will not offer fair settlements. They hope you take the first low offer and close the claim. After you accept a settlement, you cannot go back for more compensation if your condition worsens, which is why you need a lawyer who will negotiate and knows to wait until your full medical situation becomes apparent.
Distracted driving victims can recover payment for lost income, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, and future lost earnings. Other recovery options include property damage, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and long-term medical care. Disability or a permanent injury can also be claimed as reimbursable damages, depending on how your life is affected by your injuries.
Mississippi Comparative Negligence Laws
Mississippi works on a pure comparative negligence model, meaning they award percentage points to each driver for contributing to the accident. The fault does not hinder drivers from collecting compensation, but it does impact how much they will receive. If the driver is 30% at fault, they can recover 70% of the compensation award for their injuries and losses.
Comparative negligence can help some victims who might share fault for their accident, but it also helps the at-fault party. It is ideal to avoid any blame in an accident by devising a strategy with a distracted driving accident attorney in Southaven, MS. They can build a case that protects you and secures the maximum payment available.
Speak to a Southaven Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
Distracted driving is dangerous, yet drivers are increasingly participating in these actions and causing accidents. While many victims walk away unscathed or with treatable injuries, others are left permanently injured or may die from the reckless decisions of distracted drivers.
Do not face insurance companies or the court system alone. Speak to a Southaven distracted driving accident lawyer for guidance on the next steps. Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, understands the complexities of these accidents and is ready to talk to you during a free initial consultation.