Victims in Mississippi Distracted Driving Accidents Do Have Rights
Under Mississippi law, it’s unlawful to text and drive, go on social media, take pictures, or engage a number of different smartphone applications while driving. However, despite these prohibitions, there are still plenty of motorists on Biloxi-area roadways that persist in using their cell phones while operating a vehicle. That puts other motorists, their passengers, and pedestrians at a higher risk of auto accidents, some of which may cause injury or death. The statistics are alarming, but there are logistical reasons why distracted driving leads to so many accidents. If you’ve been injured as a result of someone texting, talking, or getting social while driving, you do have rights to compensation.
Statistics on Distracted Driving
The numbers reveal how dangerous various forms of distracted driving can be:
- A driver traveling at a speed of 55 mph has his or her eyes off the road for five seconds when reading or sending a text. This is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field while blindfolded, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- Texting while driving increases the risk of an accident by double as compared to driving responsibly.
- In 2015, 3,477 people died in car accidents involving distracted drivers. This represents an increase from 3,154 in the year 2013 and 3,179 in 2014.
Why Distracted Driving Leads to Accidents
Cell phone use is an internal distraction that affects different capabilities of the driver:
- Visual, when the motorist’s eyes are on something other than the road and surrounding conditions;
- Manual, where the activity requires the driver to manipulate a device other than the steering wheel or vehicle systems; and
- Cognitive, if the driver is thinking about s topic not related to operating the car, such as texting, a phone conversation, or social media post.
Texting always involves #1 and #2 above, and at times may include all three of these distractions.
Your Rights as a Victim
If you’re injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. You will have to prove negligence by the other driver. In distracted driving cases, the negligent act is often using the cell phone to make a call, send a text, or otherwise interact with the phone’s features. Giving the responsible party a ticket won’t cover the losses you suffer due to your injuries, but you do have the right to make a claim for recovery. Most often this will involve filing a claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company.
Consult with a Biloxi Attorney About Your Rights in a Distracted Driving Case
Mississippi’s prohibition on cell phone use while driving hasn’t deterred every motorist from engaging in this risky behavior, so distracted driving auto accidents will continue to be a threat to other drivers on the road. Making a claim to recover financially if you’re injured in such an incident can be tricky. Especially if the other driver is not insured or only has minimum limits and you have high injuries. Your success could be greatly increased by utilizing an experienced lawyer. Our attorneys at the Biloxi, MS Law Offices of Judy Guice will aggressively pursue your interests in negotiations with the responsible party’s insurance company, and will take the matter to court if the settlement offer is insufficient to compensate you for your losses. Please contact us today with questions or to schedule a free initial consultation.