At Patterson Law Group, many people come to us for assistance after they’ve been in an auto collision with someone who was driving distracted. It pains us to see scenario after scenario where distracted driving has caused great injury and suffering to an individual or family. As professionals who love our state of Texas and witness so many cases of distracted driving, we’ve made it our work to help put this dangerous behavior to an end.
If you were involved in a wreck that was caused by an inattentive driver, your choice of distracted driving lawyer makes a difference. Our law firm has years of experience protecting the rights of our fellow Texans. Distracted driving accidents are rarely straightforward, and our attorneys are well-equipped to help victims navigate the complex legal system.Regardless of what type of distracted behavior caused the collision, you may be eligible for compensation when injuries result. In the wake of an accident, our injury attorneys can explain your rights and help you understand the best course of action for your recovery.
One vehicle accident can often have domino effects with devastating consequences for car accident victims. This can include:
- You get in a wreck and are injured.
- You end up with medical bills and perhaps even need long-term medical care.
- The insurance company does not respond in time or offers you a settlement for your insurance claim that does not cover your expenses.
- You’re stuck in limbo – and in pain – without transportation, and at the mercy of some claims adjuster who cares more about his bottom line than about your well-being.
After a wreck, your life will completely and abruptly change, which is particularly painful when you are not at fault for the collision in the first place. The accident itself is just the beginning. You’re then left to deal with treatment and deal with an insurance company (i.e. the classic David and Goliath scenario). That’s why it’s so important to get medical treatment, then contact an experienced, trustworthy Fort Worth car accident law firm.
Get Medical Treatment
A handful of Ibuprofen with your morning coffee likely won’t do it. You should seek out medical help from providers who understand the particular type of trauma you experienced in a car crash (contact us if you need help; we have a list of expert medical providers).
Did you know that 62% of people who sustained whiplash-like injuries experienced major residual effects for 10-15 years? Read more on our car accident injury statistics page.
Prompt medical attention may keep any injury you have from getting worse, helps to treat your pain and fully documents your injury if a claim or lawsuit is later necessary. You can say “my neck hurt” but it simply does not have the same impact as a physician or medical record pointing out the specific injuries you’ve sustained and detailing what it will take for you to recover.
Don’t skip medical treatment for serious injuries because of the cost – once you are represented by a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer, you can generally find providers who will work with you. A “letter of protection” means the doctors providing you with care will be paid out of the final settlement, not up front, so you won’t be racking up huge medical expenses that you have to pay immediately out of pocket. This can be critical to getting you the medical treatment you require.
Get Legal Representation
With literally millions of dollars and thousands of lawyers on their side, an insurance company is a daunting opponent, and if you try to go it alone, you’ll probably end up with a much smaller settlement than you deserve. Or worse, no settlement at all. The insurance company has one goal in mind, and it is not your improved health or financial state. They are in business to make money, and the more they pay you, the less they have left over for themselves and their Super Bowl ads.
An attorney helps to level the playing field and an auto accident lawyer can initiate a personal injury lawsuit if needed to help recover the compensation you deserve.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is a broad term that includes any activity that requires drivers to engage in something other than driving.
The activity may require drivers to take their eyes off of the road, for example. Or, it may reduce their attention span in other ways.
There are three primary types of distractions:
- Cognitive, which requires the driver to think about something other than driving;
- Visual, which requires the driver to look away from the road; and
- Manual, which requires the driver to take his or her hands off of the steering wheel
Common Types of Distracted Driving
Sometimes, the most dangerous obstacles to arriving safely at your destination are right inside of a car. Drivers are taking risky actions while behind the wheel of a vehicle, and it’s time that we expose these dangers. Some of the hazardous behaviors that drivers are engaging in include:
- Checking email
- Checking or posting on social media
- Browsing the internet
- Texting while driving
- Talking on the phone
- Streaming video content via Youtube or Netflix
- Drinking and eating in the car
- Putting on makeup and grooming
- Reading books or Kindles
- Watching scenery
- Programming or switching music
- Reaching for an item elsewhere in the vehicle
- Interacting with passengers
- Visually checking on a pet or child
- Navigating their GPS
All of these distracted behaviors can be exacerbated by motorists who are driving while excessively fatigued. Our legal team is well-versed in distracted driver laws in Texas, and are committed to making Fort Worth roadways a safer place for everyone.
Examples of Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Fort Worth
Sadly, as of November 4th, 2016, at least one person has been killed on a Texas road every day since the turn of the millennium. This unfortunate statistic is just the start of a horrible distracted trend record in our state. The issue in its entirety is quite mind blowing and troublesome.
Since November 7, 2000, 55,578 people have died on Texas roadways, all the direct result of a traffic collision. This number equates to almost 10 people per day killed on Texas roads.
We have a huge problem in Texas and it needs to be addressed. Texas residents have to look at their own driving behaviors and challenge others to stay self-aware as well. Distracted driving is negatively impacting individuals’ abilities to drive safely, becoming a leading cause of car collisions and deaths in the state.
How do you spot a distracted driver on the road?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cautions of these behaviors:
- Abrupt or illegal turns
- Swerving into oncoming traffic
- Near collisions with objects or other vehicles
- Inconsistent speed
- Drifting into the shoulder lanes
- Failing to use turn signals
- Failing to stay in a lane
- Looking down intermittently
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, “Nearly 1 in 5 traffic crashes in Texas are caused by a distracted driver.” Hundreds of innocent people are injured or killed due to motorists who are not paying attention when behind the wheel. Fortunately, victims do not have to settle for less than they deserve. A dedicated Fort Worth distracted driving injury attorney will fight to ensure that negligent parties are held accountable for their actions.
What to do if You’ve Been Hit by a Distracted Driver in Fort Worth
It can be tough going up against insurance companies by yourself. These huge corporations have millions of dollars to spend on lawyers who will defend them. You need your own attorney who will look after your best interests if you’ve been involved in a distracted driving case.
While you can ensure your attention is focused on the task of driving, you cannot control the behavior of other motorists. In the aftermath of an accident with a negligent driver, follow these steps:
- Check yourself and passengers for injuries
- Call 911 to report the accident
- Exchange contact and insurance information with all involved drivers
- Get names and contact of any witnesses to the accident
- Take pictures and video of the vehicle damage and the crash scene, including skid marks on the roads, damaged guardrails, or other cues that can be used as evidence
- Seek medical attention. If no signs of injury are present, get evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible. Many soft tissue injuries and concussions are hard to detect and do not produce immediate symptoms
- Contact a Fort Worth car accident lawyer at Patterson Law Group to discuss your rights
Even if you’re only dealing with your insurance company because the other party was driving without insurance, you need to hire a distracted driving accident lawyer to help you attain compensation for your injuries and any suffering.
Laws on Distracted Driving in Texas
In 2017, Texas finally banned texting while driving. According to TX transportation statutes, the following behaviors are illegal while operating a motor vehicle.
- Using an electronic device to email, message or text
- Using wireless communication devices if under the age of 18
- Using handheld cell phones within your first six months of driving
- Using handheld devices in school crossing zones or public school property
There is an obvious disconnect between what drivers admit is dangerous “distracted” behavior, and what they actually do. Statistics indicate that more than 27 percent of all motor vehicle accidents involve handheld or hands-free cell phone use.
How to Prevent Distracted Driving
We can only do so much to influence the behaviors of others, but we can definitely control our own actions. Whenever you’re tempted to do something in your vehicle the keeps you from paying full attention on the road, think about the potential dangers at hand.
Some ways that you can avoid distracted driving include:
- Turn off your cell phone and put it away until you reach your destination
- Pulling to the side of the road if you feel tired or overly emotional
- Stop the car and turn it off if you must answer a text or call
- Input your intended destination into app or GPS before departing
- Snack smart: eat before or after a car trip, or stop for a meal mid-journey
- Let the kids choose the radio station and get their own snacks
- Use your cell phone for emergencies only, after you’ve pulled over
- Secure your pets in the backseat before departing
- If your kids need your attention, stop the vehicle
- Limit the number of passengers in your vehicle
- Ensure items and gear are properly secured and cannot roll around in the vehicle
- Refrain from multi-tasking when behind the wheel
Common Injuries from Distracted Driving Wrecks in Fort Worth
Rear-end collisions are a common result of distracted driving, though head-on accidents, rollovers, and sideswipe wrecks can happen as well.
A Fort Worth personal injury lawyer can advocate for victims who were hurt through no fault of their own. Some of the more common injuries reported in distracted driving collisions include:
- Spinal and neck injuries
- Facial lacerations
- Head trauma
- Back injuries such as herniated and ruptured discs
- Broken bones in the ankles, legs, and knees
A serious accident can leave victims with not only physical injuries, but financial hardships that come with hospital and medical expenses. If the collision was caused by a distracted motorist, Patterson Law Group is here to help.
How Can a Fort Worth Distracted Driving Injury Attorney Help?
Those who violate their duty to drive carefully and without distractions will rarely admit fault. When you are injured and anxious about medical expenses, the last thing you want to think about is dealing with insurance adjustors or the possibility of litigation. There are many benefits to hiring a distracted driving attorney to handle your claim.
As your legal representative, we will leverage all resources to increase your potential settlement amount. This is accomplished with diligent investigations into the accident.
- Our attorneys will marshal evidence that proves if another driver engaged in distracted behavior. This could include cell phone records, traffic cams, and eyewitness reports.
- We will examine all factors that contributed to the accident to identify liable parties. In some cases, there may be multiple defendants.
- Our lawyers will counter allegations that you share blame for the accident, which would minimize your financial recovery.
- We will handle all communications and negotiations with insurance companies and demand a monetary reward that fairly reflects your losses.
Damages Available in Fort Worth Distracted Driving Accidents
Claimants can seek a wide range of monetary compensation in a Fort Worth distracted driving accident claim. Our legal team will evaluate your economic and non-economic damages to account for:
- Past and future medical expenses, including hospitalization, diagnostic tests, surgery, medication, and physical therapy
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of income
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident
- Reduced earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The majority of distracted driving car accidents are entirely preventable. Patterson Law Group will fight for the money damages you need and deserve to move forward with your life.
Time Limits for Legal Action After a Fort Worth Distracted Driving Accident
The statute of limitations for seeking personal injury compensation after a car accident in Texas is two years from the date of the incident. Once this statute expires, you will be unable to pursue monetary damages through litigation.
Distractions for Truck Drivers in Fort Worth
There are many types of distracted driving, and it takes an experienced attorney to prove that negligence occurred. This dangerous behavior is a major factor in Texas truck crashes as well. According to federal studies, some form of driver inattention is the leading factor in 80 percent of all accidents involving 18-wheelers and big rigs.
A Fort Worth truck accident lawyer can determine if a trucker violated FMCSA regulations regarding distracted driving, and pursue justice on your behalf.
Contact Experienced Fort Worth Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys Today
Patterson Law Group’s personal injury practice has a special focus on distracted driving. We help victims of distracted drivers, and we offer professional assistance navigating a personal injury case. You need the right law firm on your side to get you fair compensation for any pain suffered due to negligent and distracted driving.
Contact us to discuss your options with a trusted Fort Worth texting and driving lawyer. The consultation is free and without obligation to proceed.