Distracted Driving Accidents
Any action that diverts a driver's attention from the important task of operating a motor vehicle safely is considered a distraction. Common distractions while driving include texting, talking on the phone, putting on make-up, eating, using a navigation system, tuning the radio, or dealing with pets. Any of these activities can take away a driver's attention and cause him or her to react slowly to ever-changing road conditions, or in some cases, not react at all. If you have been struck by a distracted driver in Atlanta or the surrounding area, you can consult car accident attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert for guidance on your legal options.Holding a Distracted Driver Accountable for Damages
Generally, distracted driving will be considered to be negligent. However, you will still have to prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence if you want to recover damages from the defendant. Specifically, you will have to show the duty of care that the defendant owed you, a breach of this duty, causation, and actual damages. All drivers have a duty to drive safely for weather and road conditions, and they are expected not to violate traffic laws.
In many two-car or multi-car crashes, more than one person may be negligent. In Georgia, a plaintiff's recovery may be reduced by his or her percentage of fault under O.C.G.A. 51-11-7, as long as he or she is 49% or less at fault. In other words, he or she must be less than half responsible for an accident. If he or she is 50% or more at fault, Georgia law unfortunately does not permit any recovery.
In some cases, a distracted driver may be working for someone else while on the road. For example, a pizza deliveryman or a worker who is on the clock traveling to a client's warehouse is driving for the benefit of an employer. In that case, it may be possible to argue and prove that the employer is vicariously liable for the employee whose negligence caused the accident. Vicarious liability is a legal theory that applies when an individual defendant was acting in the scope and course of his or her employment at the time of the negligent conduct.
Holding an employer accountable can be particularly useful in situations when a driver is uninsured or has limited insurance. If vicarious liability applies, the employer would be responsible for paying the damages for the employee's negligence. Closely related, but distinct, is a cause of action for negligence against the employer. This applies when an employer does not use reasonable care in hiring an employee, who then gets into a distracted driving accident. For example, if an employee has gotten into multiple car accidents due to distracted driving, this should be a red flag. An employer that unreasonably disregards this type of indicator may be held directly liable.Explore Your Options with a Motor Vehicle Collision Attorney in Atlanta
Distracted driving accidents are particularly frustrating because nearly all of them could have been prevented if drivers simply had used the appropriate care. Motor vehicle collision lawyer Stephen M. Ozcomert is dedicated to helping Atlanta residents who have been hurt by a negligent motorist. Call us at (404) 370-1000 or contact us via our online form to arrange a free consultation. We also assist injured individuals in Decatur as well as other communities throughout DeKalb and Fulton Counties.