Distracted driving is among the most-common causes of car accidents in Texas. According to data from the Insurance Information Institute (III), distracted driving is a factor in nearly one in 10 fatal accidents in the United States. Each year, thousands of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians in Texas are injured in distracted driving accidents—and all of these accidents could be avoided if drivers simply paid attention to the road.
Texting While Driving is Illegal In Texas
In Texas, it is illegal to text behind the wheel. It is also illegal to use a handheld phone for any purpose in a school zone, and drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using handheld phones at all times. Unfortunately, these laws do not prevent people from driving distracted. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT):
“In 2019, the total number of crashes on Texas Roads were 561,582. Of those, 97,853 or 17.4%, involved distracted driving (driver distraction, inattention or cell phone use). The 97,853 distracted driving crashes in Texas resulted in 378 deaths and 2,500 serious injuries.”
Drivers who violate Texas’s cell phone laws can be ticketed, but this is not the only consequence of their mistake. Since texting behind the wheel is illegal, it is also considered “negligence per se.”This means that drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who suffer injuries in distracted driving accidents can use the driver’s violation as grounds for seeking financial compensationwithout showing that the driver’s conduct amounted to a breach of their duty of care in light of the specific circumstances at hand.
How Do You Prove the Other Driver was Distracted?
But, even if the driver who hit you (or your loved one) was distracted at the time of the crash, you still need to prove it in order to recover just compensation. So, how do you prove that a driver was distracted behind the wheel?
1. The Driver’s Own Statements At the Scene of the Crash
In some cases, a driver who causes a car accident will admit to being distracted behind the wheel. If the driver who hit you (or your loved one) admitted that he or she was texting, talking on the phone, or otherwise distracted, then your lawyer may be able to use the driver’s own statements to prove your claim for just compensation.
2. The Driver’s Own Statements on Social Media
In addition to admitting to being distracted at the scene of the accident, some negligent drivers will admit to being distracted after the fact on social media. Your lawyer can hire an investigator to examine the other driver’s social media accounts and see if he or she has posted anything that suggests liability for the crash.
3. The Responding Police Officer’s Observations
If the other driver told the responding police officer that he or she was distracted, or if the responding officer had other reason to believe that the driver was distracted, this should be reflected in the police report from the accident. If you don’t have a copy of the police report, your lawyer can obtain a copy on your behalf.
4. Eye Witness Testimony
If there were any witnesses to the accident, your lawyer may be able to obtain their sworn statements when pursuing your claim for damages. Witness testimony can be strong evidence of liability in car accident cases, especially if multiple witnesses had the same observations.
5. Cell Phone Records
In distracted driving cases involving texting, phone calls, and other types of cell phone use, victims’ lawyers can obtain copies of the at-fault drivers’ cell phone records. These records can provide definitive proof that a driver was using his or her phone at the time of a collision.
6. Video Footage of the Driver
Traffic camera, security camera, and cell phone camera footage are all potential sources of proof in distracted driving cases. If there is video footage that shows the other driver using his or her phone before, during, or immediately after the crash, this footage could be crucial evidence in support of your claim for just compensation.
7. Forensic Evidence from the Scene of the Crash
Forensic evidence from the scene of the crash can often be used to prove that a driver was distracted as well. For example, a spilled drink, food crumbs, or a cell phone in the driver’s footwell could serve as evidence that the other driver was paying attention to something other than the road.
How Can You Recover Just Compensation After a Distracted Driving Accident?
Let’s say there is evidence to prove that the driver who hit you (or your loved one) was distracted behind the wheel. What steps do you need to take in order to make sure you and your family receive the compensation you deserve?
- Contact a Lawyer Promptly – In order to prove that the other driver was distracted, you will need to rely on the advice and representation of an experienced auto accident lawyer. You should contact a lawyer as soon after the accident as possible.
- Follow Your Doctor’s Advice – You will need to follow your doctor’s advice in order to recover from your injuries or trauma, and focusing on your recovery will be important to your insurance claim as well.
- Stay On Top of Your Claim – As your insurance claim moves forward, you will need to remain actively involved and ensure that you submit all information required to prove your right to coverage.
- Work Closely with Your Lawyer – By working closely with an experienced car accident lawyer, you can prove the other driver was at fault and accurately calculate the compensation you and your family deserve.
Discuss Your Case with a Plano, TX Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Are you faced with the consequences of someone else’s decision to drive while distracted? If so, it is extremely important that you speak with a lawyer about your situation. For a free, no-obligation consultation with Plano, TX car accident lawyer Joel M. Vecchio, please call 972-380-4444 or request a free consultation online now.