Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed the Hands-Free Georgia Act into law on July 1, 2018. Simply stated, it is now illegal in Georgia to drive while holding an electronic device in your hand. The law’s major goal is to minimize accidents caused by drivers who are distracted while driving by their mobile phones and reduce the chances of people filing a Georgia car accident claim for this reason.
Fines of up to $150 for numerous violations and 3 points on your driver’s license are possible penalties for breaking this new hands-free law. Despite arguments over the act’s effectiveness in reducing accidents, statistics show that fines are up but accidents are down. In the first year of the law’s implementation, state authorities issued over 25,000 tickets, according to reports. This equals 68 tickets each day on average.
Hands-Free Act and Your Georgia Car Accident Claim:
The charge of talking on a cell phone while driving is a double-edged sword. If you are involved in a car accident caused by the carelessness of another driver, you may inform the responding police officer that you suspect the other driver was talking on their phone. The other driver may accuse you of the same thing, whether or not you are telling the truth.
Let’s be clear on one thing i.e. every piece of information provided to the attending police officer will be taken into account. If an independent witness to the incident substantiates a charge of negligent driving, the charge will almost certainly be included in the officer’s report. Your Georgia car accident claim will eventually be handled by the insurance carrier and placed in the hands of a claims adjuster.
When an adjuster receives a new claim, the first thing he or she does is check for coverage and liability. Typically, an adjuster will not consider claims of mobile phone usage while driving unless they are backed up by a witness or a police record. The accusation, on the other hand, rings a bell for the adjuster that he or she cannot ignore.
If an adjuster accuses you of being on your phone, the best reaction is to tell the truth. Point out that you did not receive a citation for inattentive driving from the cops. Point out that there is no independent witness to back up such a claim. Point out that there is no video evidence that you were talking on your phone while driving. Point out everything if there is no objective reference point that supports the adjuster’s claim.
Without any solid proof, the adjuster’s accusation is just an accusation.
Proving the Other Driver Was Texting and Driving
Please remember that oversharing about any probable faults you may or may not have made in an accident might lead to self-incrimination. Good citizens like to do the right thing all of the time, and they should. At the very same time, if you are unsure what role you may have had in creating a car accident, you should obtain expert legal guidance to preserve your version of the facts moving forward.
Whatever you say at the site of the accident or over the phone with an adjuster might be used against you later.
If you’re accusing the at-fault driver of being on their phone, remember that you’ll need more than just an accusation to prove your Georgia car accident claim. First and foremost, inform the reporting officer. You never know when a witness will be able to back up your account.
If your car has a video recorder, check the video to determine if the other driver was observed talking on their phone. The driver may have acknowledged being on their phone after the incident, and this admission may have been caught by the camera in your vehicle.
Although it’s the police officer’s responsibility to see if a witness can verify your claim that the at-fault driver was texting, you should do your own investigation. Don’t rely only on the responding officer. Interrogate witnesses on the scene to see whether they observed the other driver talking or texting on their phone. If that’s the case, have them write down their version of events and get it notarized for your Georgia car accident claim.
Finally, if the at-fault driver’s cell phone records are available, check the time of the incident (as indicated on the police report) with cell phone usage on the record. This is a significant piece of evidence that is tough to deny for the at-fault driver in the Georgia car accident claim. Cell phone data are usually collected as part of the discovery process against the at-fault driver in the context of a lawsuit.
Get in Touch With a Fayetteville Car Accident Lawyer:
If you or a loved one have experienced a car accident that was the result of texting and driving, you are entitled to file a claim for the damages you have suffered. If such is the case, do not hesitate to get in touch with our Georgia accident attorneys for any legal guidance.