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If you have been hit by a driver texting while driving in Denver, then you may have a claim for damages. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Texting while driving can lead to serious accidents.
Driving requires the full attention of the person operating the vehicle. Distracted driving like texting while driving is not only against the law, but it is unsafe.
Distracted Driving Statistics in Colorado
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), distracted drivers cause more than 40 car crashes each day in Colorado. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2018, distracted driving claimed almost 3,000 lives.
Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaging in anything other than driving that takes the focus off the road. This could involve talking on the phone, eating, or texting while driving. Despite the dangers of driving while distracted, an alarming 85% of Coloradans admit to driving while distracted daily.
Ninety-one percent of drivers surveyed in 2018 reported driving distracted in the last seven days. In the same survey, 48% admitted to reading messages on a cell phone while driving and 33% sent a message while driving.
The Dangers of Texting While Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one of the most common causes of accidents is distracted driving such as texting while driving. Texting while driving is one of the worst kinds of distractions because it takes your eyes off the road for long periods of time. Sending or even just reading a text takes can take your eyes off the road for as little as five seconds. If you are going 55 mph, five seconds is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. Bankrate has detailed the additional dangers of texting and driving, as well as the state-by-state laws surrounding texting while driving.
Types of Distracted Driving
There are three main categories for distractions. These are visual distractions, manual distractions, and cognitive distractions. Visual distractions take the driver’s eyes off the road. Manual distractions take the driver’s hands off the wheel. Cognitive distractions take your mind off the road.
The reason why texting and driving is so dangerous is because it falls into all three categories. Looking at your phone to read or send a message is a visual distraction. Holding the phone is a manual distraction alone, but the further act of typing out a message is a bigger distraction. Thinking about the message and not focusing on the road is a cognitive distraction.
Colorado Laws on Texting While Driving
Texting and driving is illegal for drivers of all ages in Colorado. Drivers that are younger than 18 may not use a cell phone for any reason while driving. Doing so may put them at risk of being fined or losing their license. The only exception to this rule is if there is an emergency and a call must be made to the police or fire department.
In Colorado, there is no handheld phone ban. This means that drivers are not required to use a hands-free option when they take calls on their cell phones. There is not an all cell phone ban, despite the number of accidents caused by cell phone use. Only drivers under 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. Texting is banned for all drivers, however.
The penalties for improper cell phone use while driving are severe and can range from fines to jail time. The first violation is classified as a misdemeanor traffic offense, carrying 4 points on the license of the driver, and a $300 fine. The subsequent violations carry 4 points and up to one year imprisonment, a $1000 fine, or both.
A law enforcement officer must have seen the use of the mobile device. The officer must also have seen that the driver was operating the vehicle in a careless or imprudent manner before a citation may be issued.
Texting while driving in Denver is risky behavior and likely constitutes negligence in the eyes of the law. If a driver causes an accident and hits you because they were texting while driving, the driver will most likely be liable for damages. Lawsuits based on negligence can sometimes offer greater financial recovery than an insurance claim. Contact a Denver attorney if you were hit by a driver who was texting while driving.
What to Do After Being Hit by a Driver Texting While Driving
Call 911 for help immediately if anyone is injured. Next, call the police to file a report and document the crash. Police evidence may be able to show that there was a distraction such as by looking up phone records or a lack of brake marks leading up to the crash.
Then, call the insurance company of the driver who hit you. Be sure to notify the insurer that you believe something was distracting the driver at the time you were hit. Do not agree to any settlements over the phone if you are offered anything. Do not admit fault.
Collect contact information from any witnesses. Photograph the scene and any injuries before they are healed or are treated. Always seek medical treatment after a car accident, even if you feel your injuries are minor.
Contact a Denver attorney who is knowledgeable about texting while driving laws. If the other driver was distracted, there may be a claim for negligence. This negligence claim will likely be greater than the compensation that their insurance company will offer you.
Proving Your Claim
Most personal injury cases and car accidents will be related to negligence. To prove negligence, you must be able to prove that the other driver owed you a duty, they breached that duty, and their actions caused your accident and injuries. In this scenario, the driver had a duty to drive carefully, but by texting while driving they breached that duty. The breach must have been the cause of your injuries.
Colorado has a “no-fault” rule when it comes to automobile accidents. This means that your automobile insurance will cover medical expenses and lost wages in the event you are hit by another driver, without needing to demonstrate that the other driver was at fault. However, if the other driver was negligent in causing the accident, then you may be able to pursue a personal injury suit which may allow you to recover compensation such as pain and suffering.
Distracted Driving is Negligent Driving
The use of a cell phone to text while driving is not only against the law, but it is dangerous because of how distracting it is. Distracted drivers are negligent because their actions put other innocent drivers at risk. Cases involving cell phone use are complex and will require evidence to prove that texts were being read or sent at the moment of the crash. Injured victims in Denver should consult with a personal injury attorney for help in evaluating their case and determining compensation.
Time Limit for Filing a Case After Being Hit by a Texting Driver
The statute of limitations is a state’s law that sets a time limit for a plaintiff’s right to bring a lawsuit. An injury from a car accident in Denver must be filed within three years, with the time beginning to run the date of the accident. If someone dies as a result of a car accident, the time limit is two years for the family to file a wrongful death claim. The time begins to run for wrongful death on the date of the person’s death, not the date of the car accident, which may be different.
Damages That May be Recoverable
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be able to recover damages for being hit by a driver who was texting. This may include any hospital bills, medications, in-home care, medical equipment, and loss of wages. You may also be able to seek compensation for any emotional trauma, mental anguish, and pain and suffering.
Get Help from Denver Personal Injury Lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our Denver personal injury lawyers are experienced and have handled many cases involving texting while driving. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help recover the best possible outcome for your case.
Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers. You will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. Check out our blog for more helpful resources.
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