It is no secret that distracted driving accidents are increasing at an alarming rate throughout the country. Ironically, modern technology, which was designed to help keep us safer and more comfortable, is actually putting us at greater risk. The more dials and screens we have to read, the more buttons we have to push and the more time our eyes are not on the road. As a matter of fact, a quarter of all car crashes now involve cell phone usage. What too many drivers fail to understand is that texting while driving is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. Add to this the fact that we still have all the driving distractions we had in the past and you begin to understand the enormity of the problem.
Unfortunately, the cell phone usage laws in Tennessee are relatively lax compared to many other states. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a distracted driving accident in Middle Tennessee, you can recover substantial damages with strong legal representation through negotiation or, if necessary, by filing a lawsuit against the responsible party, but you must have a highly competent personal injury attorney. Cummings Law, located in Nashville, is an excellent car accident law firm, intent on fighting for your right to substantial compensation for your recent trauma. Brian Cummings has the knowledge and keen legal skills to win your case.
Tennessee Laws Regarding Distracted Driving
Although there have been proposals to strengthen distracted driving laws in Tennessee, currently cell phone usage is permitted while driving unless the driver is a school bus driver, an individual with a learner’s permit or intermediate license, or a driver passing through a school zone. Even if you are convicted of cell phone usage for driving in one of these circumstances, you are not charged with a moving violation and you will not get any points on your license.
Texting, on the other hand, is a class C misdemeanor in most cases. In Tennessee, however, as opposed to states with more restrictive (protective) laws, drivers are permitted to text while temporarily stopped at a red light, railroad crossing, or in heavy traffic. In Tennessee, as elsewhere, law enforcement agents, EMTs, and first responders may send or receive text messages during actual emergencies since such communication is an essential part of their jobs. Also, it should be noted that exceptions are made for anyone dialing 911 during an emergency.
When Distracted Driving Leads to Wrongful Death
Distracted driving accidents, especially when they involve pedestrians or cyclists, may result in injuries severe enough to lead to wrongful death. If you and your family have suffered the loss of a loved one due to a distracted driving accident, you should seek prompt legal counsel to ensure that the responsible party is held fully accountable and so that you and your family receive the highest amount of compensation that an experienced attorney can get you.
Injuries Caused by Distracted Drivers
Distracted drivers are “driving blind” for some portion of their journey. Their recklessness may result in extremely severe injuries to their victims, some of which may cause loss of mobility (spinal cord injuries), loss of vision or hearing, cognitive impairment (due to traumatic brain damage), neuromuscular problems, fractures, or internal bleeding.
Types of Distracted Driving
There are three basic types of distracted driving: cognitive, visual, and manual. Texting involves all three. Other examples of distracted driving exist when the driver:
- Is dealing with an insect or animal in the car
- Checking a GPS or road map
- Looking at a view out the side window
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD or iPod, heat or air conditioning
- Searching or reaching for something inside the car
- Grooming (e.g. hair brushing, applying makeup, shaving)
- Reacting to activity in the back seat
Any of these actions can keep the driver’s attention off the roadway long enough to result in a terrible accident and life-threatening injuries.
Cummings Law Will Fight For the Compensation You Are Entitled To Receive
If a distracted driver has caused you or a family member severe injuries, he or she is responsible for paying damages whether through an out-of-court settlement or through litigation. Brian Cummings has the fortitude and commitment to winning you every dollar of compensation you deserve.
He will fight vigorously for both economic damages, those that can be easily tabulated, and non-economic damages, those that are difficult to assign monetary value. Economic damages include such costs as medical bills, lost income (present and future), property damages, and household services you are no longer able to perform. Non-economic damages consist of such intangibles as physical pain, emotional suffering, disfigurement or impairment, and loss of consortium.
In addition, if the circumstances warrant, you can also seek punitive damages, which designed to punish the driver for extreme recklessness and to discourage others from the same reckless conduct.
Modified Comparative Negligence System in Tennessee
In many states in the U.S., including Tennessee, a modified comparative negligence rule is used in personal injury cases. Under this rule, the judge or jury assigns a percentage of blame to each party and damages are awarded accordingly. If, for example, you, the plaintiff, are found to be 10 percent at fault for the accident, you will have 10 percent deducted from the amount of compensation you are awarded. So, if you are awarded a $1 million settlement, you will actually receive $900,000.
The 50 Percent Rule in Tennessee
Several states using comparative negligence use the 50 percent rule, and Tennessee is among them. According to this rule, you are only allowed to collect damages if you have been determined to be less than 50 at fault for the accident. If the judge or jury deems you to be at least 50 percent responsible for injuries suffered, you cannot receive a financial recovery for your injuries and damages.
Contact Our Nashville Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
Because of the laxity of distracted driving laws in Tennessee, and because of the state’s tight 50 percent rule, it is crucial that you have a first-rate attorney at your side to guide you carefully through the legal process. Brian Cummings has the empathy and skill to make you feel confident and the tenacity to win you the money you need to move forward fully with your life. Call our office or fill out a contact form on our website file to find out how exceptional our legal counsel really is.