Injured by someone who was texting while driving?Last updated on: November 4, 2022
How does texting cause accidents?
Texting while driving is a form of distracted driving. It distracts you visually, manually, and cognitively by removing your attention from the road.
Looking at your phone to read or send a message is a visual distraction. Holding the phone is a manual distraction alone, but the act of typing out a message is an even bigger distraction. Thinking about the message and not focusing on the road is a cognitive distraction.
What is distracted driving?
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 90% of Coloradans admit to driving while distracted daily.
There are three main categories for distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.
They take the driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off of driving. The reason why texting and driving is so dangerous is because it falls into all three categories.
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 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 should consult with a personal injury attorney for help in evaluating their case and determining compensation.
How is electronically-distracted driving different?
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 can take your eyes off the road for as long as five seconds. Which might not sound like a lot but if you’re driving a car it means unwittingly controlling a multi-thousand pound metal machine with virtually zero control.
For example, 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.
Who pays for a distracted driving accident?
The insurance company covering the at-fault driver typically pays for the victim’s injuries in an accident. If someone is texting while driving, it is very likely that that person will be held liable for the crash.
Tips After a Car Accident Caused By Texting While Driving
Call 911 if you need help
If the other driver is unconscious or you can tell that you require emergency medical care, call 911 immediately. Your health and well-being is more important than gathering evidence at the accident scene.
Order a police report
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. A few days after the accident, you can request the report online or in person.
Get medical attention immediately
Always seek medical treatment after a car accident, even if you feel your injuries are minor. If you wait to go to the doctor, your injuries could get worse. Additionally, the defendant might use your lack of medical care to show that you did not suffer a serious injury.
Request medical records and bills
Medical records and bills provide evidence that you suffered an injury, and they show the kind of injury you received. They allow you to calculate the amount of relief you should request as repayment for the bills and your physical and mental pain and suffering.
Take notes after the crash
Note anything unusual about your surroundings. Are you in a construction zone? Is the road wet from rain or snow?
These types of conditions can be important when proving the issue of fault in an accident. If you forgot to note the conditions of your surroundings after the crash, your attorney will likely ask you questions to prompt your memory.
Look for witnesses
Collect contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident. Your lawyer can call them later to gather witness statements and determine whether they might testify at trial.
Take pictures and videos at the scene
Take pictures of your surroundings and any damage to the vehicles at the accident scene. Also, photograph any injuries before they are healed or are treated. Pictures can be powerful evidence at a jury trial.
Establishing Liability for Texting While Driving
To win your claim against the person who caused the accident, you must establish that the accident was not your fault.
Even if you partially caused the accident, you can usually recover some of your damages if you were not totally at fault for the accident.
If the other person was texting while driving, you should gather evidence to prove that that person was driving while distracted and therefore must accept liability.
Get legal advice
Contact an 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.
Verify your lost wages
Explain the circumstances of your injury to your employer and request documentation noting your lost wages from time you had to take off work while healing from your injury. This is evidence to help you show the economic damages you suffered.
Can I Sue A Driver Who Hit Me While Texting?
Is the driver who was texting liable?
The driver who was texting can probably be held liable for the accident. However, if you were also acting negligently, you may not be able to pursue compensation to fully cover your injuries.
Additionally, if you live in a “no-fault” state, your insurance—not the other driver’s insurance—may have to cover your injuries. You may still receive other damages from the driver.
Accidents in no fault states
Some states have 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.
Negligence in auto accidents
Most personal injury cases and car accidents will be related to negligence. To prove negligence, you must be able to show 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.
Do I need an attorney?
If you have never pursued a legal claim before, you might find the process complex and time-consuming. An attorney can take the burden off of you and prevent you from making mistakes that hurt the strength of your claim.
At Zinda Law Group, our 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 from your financial and emotional loss.
How do I prove the driver was texting?
If you allege that the other driver negligently caused the accident, your case might depend on proof that the other driver was texting while driving. You can provide evidence of this by relying on witnesses who saw the other driver texting while driving. You might also use a police report as evidence, if the reporting officer noted that the other driver was acting negligently.
Check whether there are any security cameras that may have captured the other driver texting and driving. Finally, have your attorney request the other driver’s cell phone records to see whether texts were sent at the time of the accident.
What damages are reasonable?
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.
Frequently asked questions
How texting while driving can lead to an auto accident?
Texting while driving 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 an attorney if you were hit by a driver who was texting while driving.
Who is at risk of texting and driving?
Drivers in every state text while driving. The NHTSA reported that in 2020, distracted driving claimed over 3,000 lives. Everyone on the road is endangered when someone chooses to text and drive.
Is it legal to use a cell phone while driving?
Texting while driving is illegal for drivers of all ages in all states except Missouri and Montana. Many states ban drivers under the age of eighteen or twenty-one from using a cell phone for any reason (except emergency calls to the police or fire department) while driving. Still other states ban cell phone use at any age while driving.
The penalties for improper cell phone use while driving are severe and can range from fines to jail time depending on the state. For the first offense, the state usually issues a fine. First-offense fines vary greatly from state to state.
For example, your first offense for improper use of a cell phone while driving in California will result in a $20 fee. However, if you are caught doing the same thing in Oregon, you could pay up to $1,000 for your first offense.
Even if your state does not threaten jail time after three or more offenses, you could be penalized in other ways for texting while driving. You will likely have points added to your license, causing your insurance rates to go up.
For someone to be penalized for improper cell phone use while driving, 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.