Most people who drive are aware that there are many things to be concerned with when travelling on the road. From local speed limits to being aware of other drivers on the road, drivers have enough to be concerned with without distracting themselves. Unfortunately, there are people who choose to distract themselves while driving. Not only can distracted driving injure other people, but it may also injure your chances of recovering damages if you are involved in an automobile accident.
Forms of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can take many different forms, and none is more prevalent than the use of a cell-phone. In fact, texting while driving has become such a problem that legislatures have banned the use of text messaging services while driving. Other distractions people typically engage in include:
- the use of cell phones
- getting dressed
- reading maps
- adjusting the radio or mp3 players.
While these forms of distracted driving might not seem too severe, studies have shown that, in 2011 alone, roughly 387,000 people were injured in automobile accidents involving distracted drivers. In addition, approximately 3,331 people were killed in automobile accidents involving distracted drivers in the same year.
How Distracted Driving can affect Your Case
While there are several ways distracted driving can affect or injure other people, distracted driving can also impact your own case should you be involved in an automobile accident. This is because South Carolina follows what is known as a comparative negligence standard of liability.
Under the comparative negligence standard of liability, a party that is injured by the negligence of another can recover damages resulting from the accident, but the damages will be limited by the victim’s percentage of negligence, as long as the victim’s negligence does not outweigh the defendant’s negligence. This means that if two individuals were to get into a car accident, and the victim is held to be 20% responsible for the accident, then her damages will be reduced by 20% in order to reflect her level of responsibility for the accident. However, if the victim were found to be responsible in any amount greater than 50%, she would not be able to recover anything.
This is important to keep in mind, especially when talking about distracted driving, since courts may look at evidence of distracted driving when considering your case. From examining text logs, phone records, or even looking at witness statements, it generally will not be difficult to prove that a victim was driving while distracted. Regardless of how serious your injuries might be, the court could deny your claim for recovery if it finds that you were at least 51% responsible for the accident.
Contact an Attorney
While nobody wants to get into an automobile accident, the truth is that an accident can happen to anyone at any time. In order to help protect your interests, it is important to work with an experienced attorney. If you or someone you love has been involved or injured in an automobile accident, then call a dedicated, experienced auto accident attorney at David Aylor Law Offices for a free consultation. We can assist clients in Walterboro, Charleston, and North Charleston.