Texting while driving can be dangerous and even fatal. When texting, the driver takes their hands, eyes, and mind off driving. This lack of attention can lead to serious accidents. Did you get into an accident with a texting driver? Here’s what you can do to protect your rights and secure compensation from the at-fault party. A car accident attorney can help you in this situation.
See a Doctor Right Away Following an Accident With a Texting Driver
After a vehicle collision with a driver who was texting, your health and safety are the primary concern. Ensure that you and others involved in the accident receive first aid. Call for an ambulance if someone requires emergency medical assistance, and move out of traffic and other dangerous areas.
Even if you don’t immediately feel injured, visit an emergency room or your primary care physician (PCP) as soon as possible for an evaluation. Back, neck, and head injuries, like whiplash and traumatic brain injury (TBI), can take time to manifest. You may not feel symptoms until days or weeks later. Untreated, such injuries can grow worse, affecting your ability to work and engage in normal daily tasks.
Call Emergency Services to Report the Accident With a Texting Driver
Call 911 to report the accident, especially if someone was injured or passed away. If nobody was visibly injured, your state might have specific property value requirements for crash reporting. State and local authorities may require a crash report for any property damage greater than $500, but the threshold differs by state. By calling 911, you can meet legal reporting requirements and establish a police report as evidence for your car accident claim.
When you contact 911 for an accident involving significant property damage, injuries, or fatalities, a police officer will usually come to the scene to take a report. Avoid pinning blame or speculating about the accident’s cause when you give your account to the police. Stick to the facts and keep your statement simple. Don’t say anything that could be construed as admitting fault.
Document the Accident Scene Where the Texting Driver Accident Occurred
After a collision with a texting driver, document the accident scene if possible. Photos, videos, and witness statements can all support your accident claim. If you can, take photos of the vehicles and their damages. Photograph skid marks, scrapes, and any damage to the roadway, guardrails, and retainer walls that can show how the accident progressed.
These details are especially important because authorities often clear accidents on roadways to make way for traffic. Reconstructing an accident and proving fault are more difficult if the accident scene is altered and evidence removed.
Obtain Contact Information From Witnesses Who Saw the Driver Texting
Witnesses can provide the necessary details and support your claim against the texting driver. You don’t need to take statements immediately, just ask for their contact information. Your attorney can call or email them to request formal statements once your case is underway.
If your injuries prevent you from getting witness contact information, don’t worry. The reporting officer may also take witness contact information along with the other driver’s details.
Call Your Insurance Company to Report the Texting Driver Accident
You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible following an accident with a texting driver. As with the police report, be sure to provide only factual details about the accident.
Remember that even your own insurance carrier is motivated to pay as little as possible. If you must file a claim with your insurance company, statements that imply you were at fault could compromise your settlement value.
Don’t Sign Any Agreements, Waivers, or Settlements Before Consulting a Lawyer
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, your insurance company or the company representing the other party may offer you an immediate settlement. Such settlements are almost always lower than the value you deserve.
Avoid agreeing to any terms or settlements in writing or verbally until you consult a car accident attorney who handles texting driver accident claims. They can help you seek the full value of your losses.
Hire a Car Crash Attorney for Help After a Collision With a Texting Driver
A car accident lawyer can demand compensation for your losses. With a car accident attorney on your side, you can focus on your recovery. The attorney can handle correspondence, phone calls, and insurance negotiations while compiling evidence and securing statements from witnesses and experts to bolster your claim.
If negotiations fail, your car accident lawyer can prepare a case against the texting driver and their insurance company. In addition, you can count on them to file your case in a timely manner and represent your interests in hearings and court proceedings.
Why Is Texting and Driving So Dangerous?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,000 people are killed each year by distracted driving. That amounts to approximately nine deaths every day. At the same time, approximately 400,000 people are injured in distracted driving accidents annually.
Texting and cellphone use are two of the primary causes of driver distraction. In fact, NHTSA shows that approximately 4 percent of all drivers visibly manipulate handheld devices while driving. For this reason, despite the lack of a federal prohibition, 48 states have banned texting and driving, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Types of Accidents Caused by Drivers Who Text
Distracted driving has numerous causes, including texting, talking on the phone, eating, and interacting with other people in the vehicle.
Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because it occupies the driver’s visual, cognitive, and manual attention.
- Visual distraction: When a driver texts while operating a vehicle, they are less aware of their surroundings, which makes them more likely to strike other vehicles, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.
- Cognitive distraction: A texting driver is distracted, so their response time is slower when reacting to other vehicles and road hazards. They are, therefore, more likely to hit people, other vehicles, and objects in the road at higher speeds.
- Manual distraction: The driver must use at least one hand to text, which means removing their hands from the wheel or gearshift. When faced with a sudden stop, turn, or road hazard, a texting driver is less able to react quickly because their hands are elsewhere.
Injuries You Could Sustain in an Accident With a Texting Driver
High-speed collisions and crashes involving pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bikers are more likely to cause severe injury and death. When a texting driver fails to react, they may not slow down enough to reduce the collision force, potentially causing serious injuries.
In addition, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists are less protected than passenger vehicle occupants. They absorb the full force of the collision, which means more serious injuries, including head trauma, bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, and death.
Whether you were in a vehicle or walking on a crosswalk, you can seek compensation after a collision with a driver who was texting.
What Damages Can I Pursue Following an Accident With a Texting Driver?
After a collision with a texting driver, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries. Losses you could pursue following a texting and driving accident include:
Hospital Bills and Medical Expenses
When you are struck by a texting driver, you may go straight to the hospital in an ambulance or visit your primary care physician later. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could require medication, assistive devices, and physical therapy. You may file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to recover all medical expenses associated with your injuries.
Income and Business Losses
If your injuries from a texting driver accident prevent you from working, you can seek reimbursement for the income you lost as a result. If you run your own business, you could also pursue those losses, including lost business income, loss of future business, and business failure.
Pain and Suffering
Damages after a texting accident aren’t limited to documented economic damages. You can also seek compensation for pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, and quality of life.
For example, if you can’t engage in activities you once enjoyed, you can seek compensation from the texting driver who caused your accident. A car accident lawyer can help you place a financial value on these losses.
How Do I File a Wrongful Death Claim Against a Texting Driver?
If you lost a loved one in a texting and driving accident, you can secure compensation through a wrongful death claim. Most states allow the decedent’s personal representative to file a case against the party responsible for the texting-and-driving accident.
Damages you could pursue in a wrongful death suit against a texting driver include burial and funeral expenses, medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship. A wrongful death attorney can help you navigate the process.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help With My Texting and Driving Accident?
If you suffered injuries after a collision with a texting driver, you need to focus your time and energy on recovering your health. A car accident attorney who handles texting and driving crashes can guide you through the claims process and advocate for your rights.
When you hire a personal injury attorney, you gain the following benefits:
Experience and Resources
A car accident lawyer should have in-depth knowledge of the state and local laws for texting and distracted driving in your area. They know which evidence is likely to support your claim and how much you can seek for both economic and non-economic damages. What’s more, they know how to handle stubborn insurance carriers.
An attorney familiar with insurance companies and their negotiation tactics can fight for your legal right to just compensation.
After they determine the party responsible for your accident and establish the value of your economic and non-economic losses, your attorney can submit a demand letter to the at-fault party and their insurance company.
Insurance companies may often try to reduce or deny your claim, so it is helpful to have an attorney who can actively defend your claim.
Advocacy Throughout Your Case
While you cope with physical, financial, and emotional recovery from your texting car accident, your attorney can advocate for a fair settlement. They may secure witness statements and expert testimony to support your claim, in addition to photos and videos of the accident, medical records, and police reports. Should negotiations fail, they can already be prepared to take your case before a judge or jury.
Knowledge of Filing Requirements
Every state has different deadlines for filing a personal injury lawsuit against a texting driver. An attorney who handles car accident injury claims in your area should know which deadlines apply and file your case in a timely manner. While many personal injury cases settle out of court, an injury lawyer can file your case right away to meet critical deadlines.
When you contact a law firm right away, you give them more time to prepare your case before the statute of limitations expires. In addition, they can obtain better quality evidence closer to the accident date. Witnesses are more likely to remember critical details that affect your case, and the accident scene will be less compromised.
Filing a lawsuit also shows the insurance companies that you mean business. In that case, they may offer more reasonable settlement terms to avoid expensive court proceedings.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney to Discuss Your Texting and Driving Case
If you or someone you love was in an accident with a texting driver, an injury attorney can help you understand what to do. You have a legal right to seek compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. For help with seeking fair compensation, contact a law firm in Myrtle Beach immediately following your accident with a texting driver.