Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | April 29, 2020
The consequences of using your cell phone while driving in Georgia include both civil and criminal penalties. Sadly, the consequences may include catastrophic injuries and fatalities because of a distracted driving accident. Distracted driving continues to cause thousands of deaths and injuries each year in the United States.
Distracted driving accidents caused 400,000 injuries and 2,841 deaths in 2018. According to the NHTSA, using a cell phone while driving is extremely dangerous. It has the potential to cause deadly car accidents.
Criminal Penalties for Using Cell Phones While Driving in Georgia
Georgia enacted a hands-free law that took effect on July 1, 2018. According to the hands-free law, using handheld cell phones while driving is banned. A driver cannot hold a cell phone in his or her hand or have any part of the cell phone touching their body while talking on the phone and driving.
While drivers may use hands-free cell phones to talk while they are driving, they cannot use the cell phones to send, write, or read text messages, social media content, emails, or internet data. Voice-to-text is permitted as long as they comply with the hands-free law.
Drivers cannot use cell phones to record videos or watch videos while driving. Music streaming on a cell phone is permitted, but the driver cannot touch the phone while driving.
The fine for a conviction of the hands-free law is a $50 fine and one point against your driver’s license for a first offense. A second offense increases the fine to $100 and two points against your driver’s license. For a third or subsequent offense, the fine is $150 and three points against your driver’s license.
The fines for the second and third offense only apply if the offense takes place within 24 months of the first offense.
Injuries Caused by Accidents Involving Drivers Using Cell Phones
Car accidents caused by distracted drivers result in severe injuries for accident victims. Common injuries sustained in distracted driving accidents in Georgia include:
- Neck and back injuries, including whiplash, spinal cord injuries, broken vertebrae, and paralysis
- Head and brain injuries, including concussions, skull fractures, hematomas, and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Fractures, broken bones, and crushed bones
- Internal bleeding and internal organ damage
- Loss of senses, including blindness
- Burn injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
Some distracted driving accidents result in disabilities and permanent impairments. A victim’s life may be forever changed by a driver who chooses to text while driving or talking on their cell phone while driving.
Civil Lawsuits for Distracted Driving Accidents
Accident victims can receive compensation for their physical injuries, financial losses, and other damages. Filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance is the first step in recovering money for a car accident claim. The insurance company investigates the accident to determine fault.
If the insurance company denies fault, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover fair compensation for your claim. Insurance companies search for reasons to deny liability for accident claims. Adjusters may pressure you to make a statement or sign a medical release.
It is best to speak with an attorney before discussing your claim with an insurance adjuster. Something you say to the insurance adjuster could hurt your claim. It is crucial to also seek medical attention as soon as possible after the crash.
To recover compensation for the claim, you must document your injuries through medical records. Delays in medical care could reduce the amount of money you receive for an injury claim. For your health and to protect your legal rights, see a doctor as soon as possible following a car accident.
Damages Recoverable in a Car Accident Claim
Depending on the facts of your case, you might be entitled to compensation for a variety of damages and losses. The value of your personal injury claim depends on the severity of your injuries, your financial losses, and other factors.
Damages in a car accident claim include:
- Medical expenses, including hospitalizations, doctor’s bills, medications, physical therapy, and other costs of treatment
- Loss of income, including future lost wages or diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering, including physical, emotional, and mental suffering
- Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
- Scarring, impairments, disfigurement, and disabilities
- Personal care costs and other out-of-pocket expenses and financial losses
Hiring a car accident lawyer can help maximize your chance of receiving the money you deserve for your injury claim. An attorney understands how to document damages and calculate the maximum value for noneconomic damages (pain and suffering). Your attorney also investigates the accident, gathers evidence of fault, and handles the insurance company.