Drivers who text while operating their vehicles are becoming an increasingly bigger issue in Houston and San Antonio. Statistically, one out of every five accidents in Texas occurs because at least one of the drivers involved was distracted. If you were hit by a driver who you suspect was texting, a personal injury attorney can help you argue your case for compensation.
Texting and Driving Is Illegal in Houston and San Antonio
Both sending and receiving electronic messages on a handheld device dramatically increases the chances of getting into a car accident. Not only does texting require the use of the hands, but it also takes both the driver’s eyes and focus off the road for a considerable length of time. It is estimated that in the time it takes to send one text, a driver could travel the length of several football fields without looking up.
In response to the considerable danger posed by texting and driving, a 2017 law made it illegal for drivers to use handheld devices to send or receive messages. While voice-to-text technology is still allowed, texting in the traditional way while operating a vehicle can result in a misdemeanor on the driver’s criminal record and a fine. If the driver caused an accident while texting, he or she would be liable for the injured party’s damages.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help You Get Compensation After Your Accident?
If you have been injured by a driver who was texting, getting compensation is probably one of your highest priorities. You should not have to pay medical expenses and incur lost income as a result of an accident you did not cause. Additionally, personal injury law recognizes that non-monetary losses like physical pain and emotional stress warrant some compensation as well.
In order to hold the other driver accountable, you will need to have proof that he or she acted in a negligent way that directly led to the accident. If you are able to show sufficient evidence that the other driver was texting while driving, you will have grounds to argue that he or she was at fault. An experienced personal injury attorney can help construct your case and find the evidence you need.
What Types of Evidence Can Show That the Other Driver Was Texting?
Your personal injury attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to uncover evidence that meets legal standards. In the case of an at-fault driver who was texting, your attorney will likely try to obtain:
If the accident occurred at an intersection or another area within the range of a surveillance camera, your attorney will request access to the footage that was taken at the time of the crash. If the camera angles were able to capture an image of the other driver looking into his or her phone right before the crash occurred, you will be able to use the footage as evidence in your case.
Surveillance footage is not the only type of documentation that is acceptable by law. If there were any bystanders who recorded the accident on their phones, their videos could be useful to you as well.
In the absence of video footage, your attorney may be able to obtain witness statements confirming that the other driver was texting. Even if you do have some videos, the witness statements can further support your arguments. Before you leave the scene of an accident, it is important to ask bystanders for their contact information in case their testimony becomes important to your case later on.
Records From the Phone Company
Your personal injury attorney may be able to subpoena records from the other driver’s phone company. If the records show texts being received or sent at the time of the crash, you will have evidence that the other driver was using his or her handheld device inappropriately.
An Admission of Guilt
While rare, it is not unheard of for the other driver to admit that he or she was texting. An admission of guilt can support your case, especially if it is noted in the police report.
You can help your personal injury attorney obtain the police report by getting the names of the responding officers before you leave the scene of the accident and by asking for the number of the report. If some time has already passed since the crash and you did not obtain this information, your attorney can help you.
What Should You Do After the Accident?
The first priority after any accident is to take care of yourself, your passengers, and anyone else who may have been hurt in the crash. Going to the emergency room is always best, even if you don’t feel the full physical effects of the accident yet. Exchanging insurance information with the other driver and taking down his or her license plate number before you leave will help you seek compensation later.
As soon as you can, contact a personal injury attorney who can advise you on the next steps. You should also reach out to your insurance company. Some policies specify that you must notify your provider within one or two days of an accident in order to use your coverage.
Will the Other Driver’s Insurance Cover My Damages?
Texas is an at-fault state, meaning that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for paying for the damages through his or her insurance or out of pocket. His or her insurance company may push back, especially if your accident was costly. However, they have a legal obligation to honor their policies, and a skilled personal injury attorney can work to overcome their counterarguments.
If you have proof that the other driver was texting, it will be hard for the insurance company to argue that you were wholly responsible. However, if they can show that you were partially to blame, their liability to cover the cost of your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Going up against a big insurance company’s legal team carries a greater likelihood of success when you have an attorney who specializes in personal injury law.
What If the Accident Was a Hit-and-Run?
Texas law requires drivers to exchange insurance information after a car accident. If there were any fatalities, injuries, or serious damage to either or both vehicles, the drivers are required to notify the police by the fastest means possible as long as their injuries do not render them unable to reach out to the authorities.
While it is illegal to flee the scene of a crash, many Texas drivers still commit hit-and-runs. A driver who was texting is especially likely to speed away knowing that he or she would most likely be liable for the other driver’s losses if he or she were caught. If the other driver cannot be found, your personal injury attorney will shift the focus onto pursuing compensation from your own insurance policies.
What Types of Damages Can You Recover?
While the other driver probably intended to send a quick, harmless message, the risks of texting while driving are widely known, and engaging in the practice is a dangerous form of negligence. If the accident he or she caused left you hurt and unable to return to work, either temporarily or permanently, you have the right to demand compensation for all of your accident-related losses. Your damages can include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional stress
- Loss of the affection of a spouse
- Loss of enjoyable activities
There Is No Excuse for Texting and Driving
Texting and driving is a serious issue that puts others at risk. When you need to hire a personal injury attorney in Houston or San Antonio, contact Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC.