Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer in Columbia, SC
Safe operation of a vehicle requires focus and attention. Unfortunately, there are more driving-related distractions than ever today in the form of cellphones, onboard entertainment systems, GPS and other navigational devices – to say nothing of old-fashioned wool-gathering and rubbernecking. When motorists allow their hands, eyes, and minds to wander from the task at hand, they place themselves and everyone around them at risk. When this behavior leads to an injurious accident, distracted motorists can be held liable for any injuries and property damage that they’ve caused by virtue of their negligence or recklessness.
At the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis, we’re ready to help you demand the compensation you’re owed for injuries caused by a distracted driver. Attorney Chris Davis can aggressively advocate on your behalf so that you can focus on your health and recovery. Our firm’s commitment to providing stellar legal advocacy for our clients has been recognized by our legal peers, as Chris Davis has received multiple awards and recognitions, including being named a “Top 40 Under 40” attorney for the past several consecutive years by the National Trial Lawyers Association. We are also humbled by the trust that our clients have in us, reflected by the fact that our previous clients regularly recommend our firm to their family members, friends, and colleagues.
If you have been injured in a crash that was caused by a distracted driver, you deserve to hold that driver accountable for their behavior. Contact the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis today for a free case review and to learn how our Columbia distracted driving accident lawyer can help you to secure any and all compensation to which you’re rightfully entitled.
South Carolina Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, distracted driving or cell phone use while driving is listed as a cause or contributing factor in approximately 20,000 motor vehicle accidents in South Carolina each year. Approximately two distracted driving accidents occur in South Carolina every hour. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, you’re certainly not alone. Other important distracted driving statistics include:
- According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly nine people are killed across the U.S. every day in accidents involving a distracted driver.
- At a speed of 55 miles per hour, in the time it takes to read a text message, a vehicle will have traveled the length of a football field while the driver’s eyes are off the road.
- On average, approximately 3,000 people are killed every year in distracted driving accidents.
- Roughly 20 percent of people killed in distracted driving accidents are outside of a vehicle at the time that they sustain fatal injuries. This statistic includes the deaths of bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Approximately nine percent of all accidents involving a driver between the ages of 15 through 20 are caused by distracted drivers. A recent survey of high school students found that nearly 40 percent of respondents admitted to texting or emailing on their cellphone while driving within the 30 days before the survey was conducted.
Common Types of Distractions That Cause Accidents in Columbia
Drivers can be distracted by the following primary types of distractions:
- Visual distractions, which involve a driver taking their eyes off the road
- Manual distractions, which involve a driver taking one or both hands off the steering wheel and vehicle controls (such as the gear shifter)
- Cognitive distractions, which involve a driver taking their attention and focus off the task of driving
Distracted driving behaviors can involve one, two, or all three types of distractions. For example, texting while driving involves all three types of distractions since a driver must take their eyes off the road to look at their phone screen, must take a hand off the steering wheel to hold their phone and type, and must shift their focus to reading or writing a text.
Common distracted driving behaviors that commonly lead to crashes include:
- Texting or cell phone use while driving
- Adjusting the radio, climate control, or infotainment system
- Using a navigation device or reading a map
- Reading a newspaper, magazine, or book
- Using a tablet or laptop
- Eating or drinking
- Grooming, applying makeup, or changing clothes
- Reaching around the passenger cabin for an object
- Talking to passengers or interacting with pets
- Reading signs and billboards outside the vehicle
How Is Distracted Driving Conduct Proven?
Unless the other driver admits that they were distracted in the moments leading up to the accident, you will need to rely on evidence to show that the other driver’s distracted operation of their vehicle led to the crash. Examples of evidence that may be used in distracted driving cases include:
- Cell phone records from the other driver’s wireless carrier, which can prove whether the driver sent or received text messages while they were driving
- Metadata from the other driver’s cellphone, which can show whether they were using text-based messaging applications while driving
- The other driver’s social media accounts, which can show if the driver made a post right before the crash
- Logs from the electronic data record/computer in the other driver’s vehicle, which will show whether the other driver made any attempts to brake or swerve to avoid a collision
- Accident scene photos and video, including photos of skid marks (or lack thereof) on the road or of the inside of the other driver’s vehicle
Surveillance or traffic camera footage showing the other driver on their cell phone
- Witness testimony, including the other driver’s passengers admitting that their driver was using their cell phone while driving
- Police accident reports or traffic citations/convictions
- Accident reconstruction reports
Do You Have Cause to File a Distracted Driving Car Crash Lawsuit?
You may have a cause to file a personal injury lawsuit if you were injured as a result of a car crash that was caused by another driver who was distracted in the moments leading up to the crash. You will need to prove that the collision would not have occurred but for the other driver being distracted. In addition, you will need to establish the losses you sustained because of the accident that you can be financially compensated for. These losses can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Compensation You Could Recover as a Distracted Driving Accident Victim
If you have been the victim of a distracted driving accident in Columbia, SC, you may be entitled to compensation from the distracted driver for the losses they caused you to suffer. A full financial recovery in your distracted driving accident case may include:
- Costs of medical treatment/rehabilitation to recover from injuries that you suffered as a result of the distracted driving crash
- Future personal and medical care expenses if you sustained permanent physical or cognitive impairments
- Lost income if you cannot work while you recover from your injuries
Loss of earning ability due to any permanent disabilities
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced enjoyment and quality of life after suffering permanent disabilities or disfigurement/scarring
South Carolina Distracted Driving Laws
South Carolina law requires all motorists to devote their full attention to the task of driving. In particular, SC Code §56-5-3890 prohibits the use of a cellphone or other wireless device to read, write, or send a text communication while operating a motor vehicle on public roads. Over the past few years, the state legislature has considered but not yet passed laws that would ban holding cell phones and other wireless devices, thereby requiring hands-free use of phones while driving. If any existing laws were violated in the leadup to your crash, the other driver’s unlawful conduct may strengthen your case.
Note that the law recognizes a few exceptions to the prohibition on texting while driving, including:
- You may read, write, and send text-based messages while lawfully parked or stopped.
- You can “read” or send text-based messages using a hands-free, voice-to-text feature.
- You may read or send text-based messages for the purpose of obtaining emergency assistance.
- You may input text into a cell phone or wireless device while using a GPS navigation feature.
- Emergency personnel may read, write, and send text-based messages in the performance of their official duties.
South Carolina’s texting-and-driving law is also deemed a primary offense, meaning that a police officer can pull over a driver if they witness them typing on their cellphone or another wireless device. The police officer does not need to witness any other traffic offense to initiate a stop. A conviction can result in a $25 fine for a first-time offense, with fines potentially increasing for subsequent violations.
Speak with Our Legal Team Today About Your Distracted Driving Accident
If you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you deserve maximum compensation for your losses. Reach out to the Law Offices of S. Chris Davis for a free, no-obligation consultation to speak with a Columbia distracted driving accident lawyer about your options to pursue rightful compensation.