driver with pizza and drink in both hands while driving

South Carolina Distracted Driving Lawyer

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a recent survey found that 2.5 percent of drivers engaged in handheld cell phone use while stopped at intersections. Furthermore, based on other self-reported data, the federal government estimated that 7.6 percent of drivers use a cell phone while driving at any given moment. With a significant number of drivers distracted by cell phones or other activities, motorists, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians face the possibility of having life-altering injuries inflicted on them in distracted driving accidents.

When you’ve gotten injured in a distracted driving crash, an experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney from Stewart Law Offices can help you recover the compensation you need to put your life back on track. Call us today for a free consultation about how we can help you get the money you need from the driver who injured you.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help After a Crash with a Distracted Driver?

When a crash with a distracted driver has left you needing extensive medical care and rehabilitation for injuries, a car accident lawyer from Stewart Law Offices can help. We can handle all the details of your legal case so you can focus on healing. Our firm can assist you with recovering maximum compensation for your injuries and losses through:

  • Skilled legal advice and advocacy: Our firm can explain your legal rights and options and discuss what you can expect during the claims process so you have the information you need to make the best decisions for your interests at each stage of your case.
  • Thorough accident investigation: A car accident attorney can carefully investigate the accident to obtain all available evidence and build a compelling case to prove that the other driver caused the crash due to distracted driving. For example, if you suspect the driver’s texting contributed to the crash, we can seek court orders to obtain the driver’s cell phone records.
  • Aggressive settlement negotiations: Our firm can handle filing your insurance claims and dealing with adjusters to fight for a full financial recovery through a negotiated settlement.
  • Experienced trial advocacy: Our firm can fight for your rights and interests at trial if the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving occurs when a motorist fails to devote their entire attention and effort to the primary task of driving. A driver can become distracted in three ways:

  • Manual distraction: A manual distraction requires a driver to take one or both hands off the steering wheel and gear shifter.
  • Visual distraction: Visual distractions force drivers to take their eyes off the road.
  • Cognitive distraction: A cognitive distraction makes a driver think about something other than the road around them or diverts a person’s attention to something other than driving.

Different distracted driving behaviors will involve one, two, or all three types of distractions. Some of the most common examples of distracted driving include:

  • Texting and driving
  • Other types of phone use, such as making or receiving calls
  • Eating or drinking
  • Grooming or applying makeup
  • Interacting with passengers or pets in the vehicle
  • Reaching for an object
  • Adjusting the radio, climate control, or infotainment system
  • Interacting with a navigational system while driving
  • Reading a map, newspaper, magazine, or book
  • Looking at something along the side of the road, such as a billboard or another crash scene
  • Daydreaming or rehearsing upcoming conversations

What Are South Carolina’s Distracted Driving Laws?

South Carolina’s distracted driving law makes it illegal for a person to use a wireless communication device to compose, send, or read a text message while operating a motor vehicle on a public street or highway. The statute defines a wireless communication device as an electronic device like a cell phone, PDA, text messaging device, or computer. South Carolina’s texting law makes this action a primary offense, so if a police officer sees the driver violating it and has a clear and unobstructed view of the violation, they can pull the driver over.

Violating the distracted driving law may result in a fine of up to $25 for a first offense or $50 for subsequent violations. However, the distracted driving statute does not apply to some specific uses of wireless communications devices, including:

  • Using a device while lawfully parked or stopped
  • Using a device in hands-free mode or using a hands-free device
  • Summoning emergency assistance
  • Transmitting or receiving data from a digital dispatch system
  • Using a GPS device or application for navigation or traffic/road condition information
  • Use of a device by a public safety official in the course of their official duties

Some lawmakers in South Carolina believe that the primary ban on texting while driving is not strong enough. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reports that texting while driving in South Carolina contributes to more than 20,000 car accidents each year. Lawmakers believe that distracted driving is a public safety risk and are proposing changing the existing law. The Senate Transportation Committee has heard testimony, and the following changes are being recommended to the state’s distracted driving law:

  • Revising the circumstances for when it is illegal to use a wireless communication device
  • Changing the legal definition of a mobile electronic device
  • Prohibiting holding a cell phone while driving
  • Increasing the potential penalties for violations, including increasing the first-offense penalty to $100 and making a second or subsequent offense worth two points on a driver’s record

What Damages Can I Recover After Being Hit by a Distracted Driver?

When you get hit by a driver due to their texting while driving, you may have the right to recover compensation for financial and personal losses you sustain because of your injuries and property damage. You could pursue compensation for your:

  • Medical treatment and rehabilitation, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, prescription, pain management care, or physical/occupational therapy
  • Long-term care and replacement services after suffering severe, prolonged, or permanent disabilities
  • Loss of wages or income after missing time from work or temporarily transferring to a lower-paying modified duty role
  • Loss of future earning capacity and job benefits after becoming disabled from work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced quality of life due to disabilities or permanent, visible scarring or disfigurement

What Evidence Can Show Distracted Driving Caused My Car Accident?

Drivers will rarely admit to engaging in distracted driving right before a car crash. As a result, you may need compelling evidence to prove that the other driver caused the accident because they were distracted. Typical forms of evidence used to prove fault in distracted driving cases include:

  • Cell phone records: Cell phone tower logs and metadata from a driver’s cell phone can show whether a driver used their phone to talk, send text messages, or use cell phone data just before or during the accident.
  • Social media posts: Social media posts by a driver right before a crash can help prove that the driver’s use of their cell phone contributed to their distraction.
  • Surveillance or traffic camera or dashcam footage: Camera footage from another driver’s dashcam or surveillance or traffic camera might show a driver engaging in distracted behaviors right before an accident.
  • Eyewitness testimony: Other drivers or passengers might see a motorist engaging in distracted driving behaviors right before the crash.
  • Car event data recorder (“black box”) logs: A driver’s car may record data about the vehicle’s operation, such as braking and acceleration, showing that a driver did not attempt to avoid the collision. Such actions or lack thereof could indicate distracted driving.

Our experienced car accident attorneys can search for and preserve strong evidence to establish your claim and right to compensation.

Contact Stewart Law Offices for a Free Case Evaluation

After you’ve suffered injuries in an accident caused by distracted driving in SC, get the legal help you need to demand compensation and justice from a careless driver. Contact Stewart Law Offices today for a free, no-obligation consultation with an auto accidents lawyer. We can discuss your legal options for obtaining financial recovery for your medical expenses, car repairs, lost income, and pain and suffering.