Pike County Sheriff’s deputies believe a combination of alcohol and speed caused a fatal collision on Highway 109.
A Lincoln Navigator and Toyota collided because neither driver stopped at the highway intersection. One driver was arrested after receiving medical treatment, and charged with driving under the influence, vehicular homicide, driving without a license, and several other traffic offenses.
Car Crash Causes
Driver errors, like speeding and intoxication, cause about 98% of car accidents in Georgia. Usually, these errors are not “accidents.” People accidentally forget their wallets. They don’t accidentally speed excessively and drive drunk, especially at the same time, and cause crashes.
If the driving error was negligence, or a lack of care, a Marietta personal injury lawyer can obtain substantial compensation for victims in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
What’s the difference between an accident and driver negligence in the car crash context? We’re glad you asked.
Device distraction is a good illustration. Using hand-held devices behind the wheel is very dangerous. These gadgets combine all three kinds of distracted driving, which are:
- Manual (hand off the wheel),
- Visual (eyes off the road), and
- Cognitive (mind off driving).
Hands-free devices are not any safer. In fact, these gadgets are so distracting that driving while using a hands-free device is as hazardous as driving drunk.
A Marietta personal injury attorney often uses a device use log to tell if a distracted driving-related crash was an accident or negligence.
If Sally swiped away a phone call at the moment she collided with Buddy, that was probably a wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time accident. If Sally had been using her phone for several blocks, that’s different.
Device distraction also illustrates the two main legal theories in personal injury cases, which are ordinary negligence and negligence per se.
Let’s look at the second one first, mostly because it only applies in limited situations. That’s especially true in Georgia. The Peachtree State only has a limited cell phone ban. Negligence per se is a violation of a safety law that causes injury. Frequently, using a hands-free device does not violate the law.
Furthermore, emergency responders often don’t issue citations in car crash cases. They do not want to get involved in what they view as a civil matter.
So, a Marietta personal injury lawyer must normally use the ordinary negligence doctrine to obtain compensation. Most drivers have a duty of reasonable care. They must keep their eyes on the road and focus only on driving.
The use of a hands-free device could breach that duty. Evidence in these matters usually includes the aforementioned device use long, along with the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) statements about device use and a hands-free speakerphone in the vehicle.
The burden of proof in a negligence case is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, a little proof goes a long way.