Texting While Driving Accidents
Drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to get into a crash than drivers who do not. Each time that people text while driving, they take their eyes away from the road for about 4.6 seconds, or the length of time it takes to drive the length of a football field at a highway speed. Georgia prohibits all drivers from texting while driving, but there is no handheld cell phone prohibition. If you have been hurt by a careless Atlanta driver, you can retain experienced car accident attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert to help you pursue compensation.Holding a Negligent Driver Accountable for Texting Behind the Wheel
Georgia prohibits text messages, emails, instant messaging, and using the Internet while driving, except for certain exceptions such as parked cars and calling for emergency personnel. People who violate the prohibition may be fined $150 and get a point against their driving records. Texting while driving is a primary law, which means that an officer can pull a driver over just for texting and issue a citation.
Although there is a texting while driving ban, there is no prohibition against drivers using handheld cell phones unless they are younger than age 18. People may claim they were simply using the cell phone (or other wireless device) and not texting at the time of the accident. This may be disproven in some cases, however, by looking at cell phone records obtained in the course of litigation.
In most cases, texting while driving will be considered negligence because it is a breach of the duty that all drivers have to use reasonable care while driving. In Georgia, a violation of the texting while driving statute may also be considered "negligence per se," which means negligence as a matter of law. When a driver violates a safety statute that establishes a standard of care, and it causes harm to someone who was meant to be protected by the statute, negligence per se may apply.
In such a case, the plaintiff will still need to establish proximate causation, which means he or she will have to prove that the violation of the safety statute was the legal cause of the harm. This means that the accident was a reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant’s decision to text behind the wheel, and that it would not have happened if the defendant had refrained from engaging in this behavior.
If you are able to prove negligence or negligence per se, you may be able to recover compensatory damages from the defendant. These damages typically include economic losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses, as well as noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment in life or particular activities. Compensatory damages are meant to make a plaintiff "whole," not punish the defendant.Enlist an Atlanta Attorney for Your Motor Vehicle Collision Claim
If you are injured or a loved one is killed because another driver was texting behind the wheel in Atlanta or the surrounding area, motor vehicle collision lawyer Stephen M. Ozcomert may be able to help you pursue damages. Call us at (404) 370-1000 or contact us via our online form to set up a free consultation. We also represent individuals in Decatur as well as communities across DeKalb and Fulton Counties.