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Motorists are encountering more distractions than ever before in this digital age. In fact, distracted driving has become the most common cause of traffic-related accidents in the United States in recent years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s data, 2,841 people died, and roughly 400,000 people were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver in a single recent year.
Suppose you’ve been injured in an accident due to distracted driving in Wilmington. In that case, you may be entitled to compensation to cover the cost of medical expenses, lost earnings, pain, and suffering, and more. Our Wilmington car accident attorneys at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, have the knowledge and resources to investigate the accident, determine liability, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
Contact us today for a free case review. We’re ready to get to work for you.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving occurs when a motorist becomes distracted by an activity that takes their attention off the task of driving. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has defined distracted driving as how our body and mind act when not fully paying attention to the road.
Distracted driving distractions are broken down into three categories:
- Visual distractions – Visual distractions cause a driver to take their eyes off the road. Visual distractions can be inside and outside of the vehicle, such as a video on a handheld device or a billboard on the side of the road.
- Manual distractions – Manual distractions cause a driver to take their hands off the steering wheel. Manual distractions can include activities like holding a pet or reaching for an item that fell onto the floorboard.
- Cognitive distractions – Cognitive distractions cause a driver to take their mind off the task of driving. Activities that may cause a motorist to take their focus off the road might include daydreaming or talking with other passengers.
Some types of distractions are a combination of all three categories of distracted driving. Texting is an example of this. Texting causes a driver to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving.
Common Causes of Distracted Driving Accidents
Some of the most common causes of distracted driving accidents include:
- Texting or talking on smartphones
- Eating or drinking
- Conversing with passengers
- Combing hair, shaving, or applying makeup
- Watching videos
- Adjusting the radio or GPS
- Taking photos
- Reaching for an item
- Playing games on a handheld device
- Looking at a billboard
- Looking at a construction site
Common Injuries Involved in Distracted Driving/Texting While Driving Accidents
Some of the most common injuries sustained by victims of distracted driving accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury – Traumatic brain injuries occur due to a forceful blow to the head. Traumatic brain injuries can range in severity, with some types requiring immediate emergency medical care, such as subdural hematomas. Traumatic brain injuries can affect memory, logic, personality, and emotion.
- Concussion – Concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury. Concussions can be relatively minor or severe. Even minor concussions usually require around-the-clock monitoring for at least a day or two.
- Whiplash – Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury in which muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the shoulders and neck are strained or torn. Whiplash usually occurs when the head and neck are jerked violently back and forth in a collision, particularly in rear-end collisions. Whiplash can also have delayed symptoms, meaning that the injury may not show up for weeks or even months after it occurs.
- Spinal cord damage – Spinal cord damage can range from a pinched nerve to a severed spinal cord. Any spinal cord injury is cause for concern, however. The spinal cord delivers messages from the brain to the rest of the body, so spinal cord damage can be highly debilitating.
- Paralysis – If the spinal cord is severed, then paralysis can result below the injury site. If the injury occurs in the lower part of the spine, a person may lose mobility in their lower body, including the pelvic area and legs. If it occurs closer to the neck area, paralysis could occur from the neck down.
- Lack of mobility – Car accident injuries, including spinal cord injuries, whiplash, broken bones, back injuries, and more, can cause a person to lose flexibility and mobility in various parts of the body, especially if these injuries are left untreated.
- Broken bones – Broken bones commonly occur as a result of car accidents. Broken bones often require lengthy recovery times, and some of them require multiple surgeries to correct the damage.
- Internal bleeding – Internal bleeding may not be immediately apparent, which is why it is always a good idea to get checked out by a physician right away. Internal bleeding may stem from internal injuries, including a ruptured spleen, ruptured liver, a punctured lung, and more.
- Lacerations and wounds – Broken glass and other debris from car crashes commonly cause lacerations, scrapes, and cuts to the skin.
- Muscle pain and soreness – Victims of car accidents may experience muscle pain and soreness for weeks or even months after the accident, particularly in areas where muscles, tendons, or ligaments were torn.
- Psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – Physical injuries aren’t the only type of injury that commonly result from distracted driving accidents. Car accident victims commonly suffer PTSD, as well as anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders.
- Death – Distracted driving can not only result in injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 8 people die daily in the United States from accidents related to distracted driving.
How to Prevent Texting and Driving Crashes
The sad reality behind accidents involving texting is that they are all entirely preventable.
Consider taking the following steps to prevent texting and driving accidents:
- Place your phone in an area where you cannot reach it, such as in the center console, the glove compartment, or elsewhere.
- If you need to use your phone while driving, pull over to a safe location before texting or calling.
- Consider pledging with your friends and loved ones that you will never text or make a call while driving.
- Consider putting your phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode while driving.
Compensation for a Victim of a Wilmington Distracted Driving Accident
If you have been in an accident involving a distracted driver, you could be entitled to claim compensation from the at-fault party. Compensation is designed to cover financial and non-financial losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Funeral expenses
- Punitive damages
- Property damage
Distracted Driving Statistics in North Carolina
According to the NHTSA’s FARS data, 93 people in North Carolina were killed in accidents involving at least one distracted driver in a single recent year. These fatalities represented 8 percent of all traffic fatalities in North Carolina that year.
Additionally, 356 fatalities in crashes involved a distracted driver from 2011 to 2015 in North Carolina. With distracted driving accidents on the rise in our state, it is more important than ever to know how to identify and prevent distracted driving behaviors.
Contact Our Wilmington Distracted Driving Lawyer
If you are the victim of a car accident involving a distracted driver in Wilmington, contact our dedicated distracted driving accident attorneys at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, today. We can review your case, help you determine your legal options, and craft a legal strategy to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Call us or get in touch with us online today for a free consultation.