Investigators believe that distracted driving may have caused a horrific crash that sent one person to a local hospital.
After the vehicle crashed through a barrier, sped up the tow truck’s ramp, crashed through the cab, and went airborne, it landed on its passenger side and flipped over, hitting another car in the other lane. The first car eventually came to a stop right side up as smoke rose from the wreck.
The driver, a 21-year-old woman from Tallahassee, Florida, survived the crash but suffered serious injuries.
Distracted drivers cause thousands of car crashes every day in the United States. Hand-held devices, which are illegal for motorists to use while driving in Georgia, combine all three kinds of distraction, which are:
- Manual (hand off the wheel),
- Cognitive (mind off driving), and
- Visual (eyes off the road).
Because of the cell phone law, if handheld device distraction substantially causes a wreck, a Marietta personal injury lawyer can use the negligence per se rule to prove negligence as a matter of law.
Other kinds of distraction, such as using a hands-free device while driving, are much more common and almost as dangerous. Hands-free doesn’t mean risk-free. In fact, according to several studies, using a hands-free device behind the wheel is as dangerous as driving drunk.
In these situations, a Marietta personal injury lawyer typically uses the ordinary negligence doctrine. Motorists are liable for damages if they breach their duty of care and that breach causes injury.
At a minimum, the duty of reasonable care requires motorists to concentrate on driving while they are behind the wheel. Continual use of a hands-free device, as opposed to occasional use, violates that duty. If a victim plaintiff proves cause or a connection between the breach and the injury, compensation is available.
This compensation normally includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Truck Driver Duty of Care
Based on the above discussion, it clearly appears that the injured driver was legally responsible for this wreck. But appearances can be deceiving.
As mentioned, noncommercial drivers have a duty of reasonable care. Typically, commercial drivers have a duty of utmost care. They must go above and beyond to prevent accidents. This responsibility includes parking a large truck in a safe place and using all appropriate safety measures.
Based on the video, which is pretty shocking, it appears that the tow truck was parked in a traffic lane, and the driver did not deploy any safety cones or other devices to alert drivers. Failure to take proper protective measures is almost always a breach of care, especially since a truck driver has additional legal responsibilities.
If this case went to court, Georgia’s comparative fault law would probably apply. Plaintiffs are entitled to compensation if they were no more than 50 percent responsible for a wreck. So, if you were injured in a crash, always ask an attorney to evaluate your claim. You do not know how much compensation you may be entitled to until you ask.