One of the most commonly asked questions here at Lewis & Keller is what the rules are concerning driving and cell phone usage. It’s hard to keep track when the rules change constantly, and no two states have the same regulations.
Bottom line: here in North Carolina, if you’ve been injured in an accident, and the driver who caused the accident was distracted by use of a cell phone, it was no “accident” and they are responsible for payment for your injuries.
Let’s take a closer look at the cell phone usage laws in North Carolina and how they relate to car accidents.
What Is Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is operating a motor vehicle while also engaging in some other task. This other task sometimes involves a cell phone. Obviously, if you are talking or texting someone, that counts as distracted driving.
But, there are other situations that apply. Reaching for your cell phone (even if your eyes are only off the road for a split second) can be counted as distracted driving. So can being distracted by a conversation you are having (even on a hands-free device) or a passenger’s cell phone usage.
Drivers have one job when they are behind the wheel: operating the vehicle. Anything else you’re doing in that car counts as a distraction.
Currently, in North Carolina, you are allowed to use a cell phone while driving. However, you are not allowed to text while the vehicle is in motion. The texting law is written such that an officer does not need to have any other reason to pull you over. They just need to suspect that you are texting.
Some Special Circumstances
Imagine if an employee of a company decides to make a work-related call while driving, or sends a work-related text, and then causes an accident. Not only are they at fault for the accident, the company itself may share in the liability. This is why so many companies today have bans on employee cell phone use while driving.
Also, in North Carolina, minors are not allowed to use any device while driving. This includes both handheld and hands-free devices. There have been legal cases where it was argued that the parents of a distracted minor driver were responsible because they gave the phone to the child, who then caused the accident.
Can I Sue A Distracted Driver?
Yes, you can! If you are seriously hurt in an accident that another driver caused, and the other driver was using a phone when the crash occurred, they are responsible for the injuries. It’s not just the medical bills and the damage to your car; it’s also pain and suffering, and lost wages from work.
Anytime you sustain an injury in an automobile accident, whether the accident was caused by a distracted driver or not, you need to find an experienced car accident attorney who can help you figure out an appropriate level of compensation. Do not trust the insurance companies to look out for your best interests. They want a quick settlement for the lowest possible amount.
In the Triad area, Lewis & Keller are your go-to lawyers in case of an accident, especially if you’ve been in a car accident caused by cell phone usage on the part of the other driver. Lewis & Keller have the experience and the skill to help you during a difficult time. The case consultation is free and you do not pay unless you win the case. Simply use the online contact form and a member of the Mike Lewis team will be in touch.