Distracted Driver Accident Attorneys in Birmingham
Distractions are everywhere these days. We are inundated with phone calls, texts, emails, and other forms of communication all day long, and it is getting increasingly difficult to keep up with it all. Everyone is trying to get our attention, and today, there are more ways than ever for us to be distracted. In most settings, distractions are annoyances that, at the very worst, inhibit our productivity. But when we are behind the wheel, they can become deadly.
Distracted driving can take many forms. The one most talked about these days is cell phone usage, but there are a lot of other activities that can take a driver’s focus away from the road. And when this happens, it puts the well-being of others on the road in greater danger. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed at the hands of a distracted driver, you deserve to be fully compensated. Recovering compensation for your losses is not always easy, however, and insurance companies will do anything they can to push back against your injury claim.
Before dealing with an adjuster or another representative from the insurance company, call the experienced Alabama auto accident attorneys at Burge and Burge for a free consultation. We will meet with you to evaluate your case and advise you of your legal rights and options, so you can make the most informed decision on what your next steps will be.
At Burge & Burge, we have over five decades of combined experience successfully representing individuals who have been injured in distracted driving accidents, and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries in Alabama. Our lawyers focus almost exclusively on personal injury law, and we have a successful track record with even the most complex cases.
We routinely go up against well-funded adversaries, such as large insurance companies, and we are not intimidated by their vast resources. We are skilled litigators and strong negotiators. When possible, we look to secure a settlement that fully compensates our clients for their injuries without the need to go to trial. However, if the other side is not willing to negotiate in good faith, we have the proven ability to successfully pursue full damages through litigation when necessary.
Distracted Driving Accidents in Alabama
Distracted driving is a growing problem in Alabama and throughout the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an average of 9 people are killed each day, and more than 1,000 individuals are injured daily in crashes that involve a distracted driver. Drivers who are under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes, and studies have found that more than 40% of high school students who have driven in the past 30 days admit to sending a text or e-mail while driving.
As mentioned earlier, there are numerous ways that drivers can be distracted. Some of the most common forms of distracted driving include:
- Eating and drinking;
- Talking to vehicle passengers;
- Tuning the car radio;
- Staring too long and billboards and other road signs;
- Reading a GPS navigation system;
- Talking on the phone;
- Sending texts and engaging in other activities on a smartphone.
These and other distractions can be grouped into one or more of the following four categories:
- Audio: Listening to sounds that distract you from the road.
- Visual: Looking at objects other than the road.
- Manual: Handling objects or devices that cause you to take your hands off of the wheel or clutch.
- Cognitive: Taking your mind off of driving.
Most distractions fit into one or two of these categories, and under the wrong set of circumstances, they can lead to serious and catastrophic accidents. Texting while driving and other smartphone activities while behind the wheel are especially dangerous, however, because they can distract drivers visually, manually, cognitively, and sometimes audibly as well. The end result is that the driver is totally focused on their cell phone and they are not noticing anything that is happening on the road.
Some people may think that texting while driving is no big deal, because it only takes a few seconds to send a text. But even those few seconds can lead to deadly consequences. To help put this into perspective, the CDC notes that the average driver takes their eyes off of the road for about five seconds to send a text. At 55 miles per hour, this would be roughly the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise to learn that texting while driving increases the risk of an auto accident by 23 times.
Alabama Distracted Driving Laws
Under Alabama law, all drivers are prohibited from writing, sending, or reading a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle, unless you are parked on the side of the road or using the device to obtain emergency services. Drivers who are under the age of 18 are prohibited from talking on a cell phone as well.
Although texting while driving is against the law, penalties for this behavior are far lower than they are for similarly dangerous activities such as drunk driving. For example, an adult who violates this law for the first time receives a $25 fine, and the fine is increased to $75 for repeat offenders. In addition, adult offenders get two points on their driving record for each violation.
The penalties for violations of the state’s distracted driving laws pale in comparison to the damage suffered by those who are injured when a distracted driver causes an accident. The offender just pays a small fine and maybe a little higher insurance. For the injury victim, however, this can be a life-altering event.
Moderate to severe injuries mean high medical bills, a significant period of time missed from work, physical pain and suffering, and the emotional distress of not knowing when your life will return to normal. If the injury is serious and debilitating, the victim also has to contend with the reality of not being able to participate in the activities they once enjoyed.
Those who are injured in a distracted driving accident through no fault of their own deserve to be fully compensated. But pursuing an auto accident injury claim can be especially challenging in a state like Alabama, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to be even 1% responsible for the underlying accident (that caused the injury), they can be barred from recovering compensation.
With such a high the standard to meet, it is all the more critical that you get an attorney involved as early as possible in the process. Otherwise, you may lose out on the just compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Seasoned Birmingham, AL Auto Accident Attorneys
Distracted driving accidents can result in serious and catastrophic injuries, and if this has happened to you or someone close to you, you need strong legal counsel by your side fighting hard to secure the most favorable outcome possible. At Burge & Burge, we have the knowledge, skills, resources, and commitment to help ensure that our clients receive every dollar of compensation they are entitled to.
Call us today at 205-251-9000 or toll free at 800-633-3733 to schedule your free consultation. You may also message us through our web contact form or stop by our office in person at your convenience.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we recover compensation for you