Despite being so preventable, texting and driving accidents claim more than 400 lives per year and cause nearly 400,000 injuries. Sadly, teenagers are 400% more likely than adults to be involved in a texting-related car accident.
At Patterson Law Group, we see the lifelong impact that a serious accident can have on those involved. If you or someone in your family has been harmed in a texting and driving accident, speak with a Fort Worth car accident lawyer.
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Causes of texting and driving accidents
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, distracted driving causes more than half a million accidents statewide each year. Texting is among the most hazardous distractions as it takes the driver’s eye off the road for, on average, 5 seconds – long enough to drive the length of a football field at highway speeds.
According to the AAA 2020 Traffic Safety Culture Index, about a quarter of drivers surveyed admitted to having sent a text or email from behind the wheel at least once in the preceding 30 days. Another 33.9% admitted to reading on a hand-held cell phone while driving. Texting while driving is shockingly common, but holding people accountable for their actions can help change that and protect others on the road.
Who is liable for these accidents?
The most likely liable party is the driver who caused the accident by driving distracted. However, sometimes other individuals or entities are to blame – instead of or in addition to the driver who was texting. They can include:
- Other drivers
- A manufacturer, if a product defect played a role in the crash
- A government entity if hazardous road conditions played a role
Virtually any party whose negligence caused the accident may be financially responsible, but the victim has the burden of proving it. This can involve collecting evidence like witness statements, photos and recordings of the scene, and possibly even obtaining the driver’s cell phone records.
It is not always easy to spot which parties might be liable after a crash and prove it – that’s why a Fort Worth texting and driving accident lawyer can help sort through the details to hold those who are to blame accountable for their actions.
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Texting and driving laws in Texas
Texting and driving is illegal in Texas, while some other forms of cell phone use are permitted in certain locales. Section 545.4251 of the Texas Transportation Code prohibits anyone who is operating a vehicle from reading, writing, or sending an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped.
Some municipalities in Texas are more strict, banning all cellphone use from behind the wheel. Statewide, no driver may operate a cellphone in a school zone. No driver under the age of 18, and no driver with a learner’s permit who is in their first six months of driving, may operate a cellphone in any way while driving.
Since texting and driving is specifically prohibited by statute, liability can be easier to prove if it is established that the driver was reading or responding to a text or email while driving.
What to do after an accident
After an accident, your safety is of primary importance. Call 9-1-1 and document the accident with a police report. If there is any possibility you may be injured, seek medical attention right away. Even if you do not feel injured immediately, it is still a good idea to see a doctor within the first 48 hours to rule out head injuries or soft tissue injuries, as these do not always appear instantly.
If you are able, obtain the contact information of any witnesses and take photos of the vehicles and damage. Write down what happened while the details are still fresh in your mind. Report the accident to your insurance company – do not wait for the police report or medical bills to be processed, as an insurer may deny the claim if you wait too long. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the rest of the process.
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Texting while driving causes 400,000 injuries per year
Texting while driving is responsible for approximately 400 deaths per year. In addition, distracted drivers cause nearly 400,000 car accident injuries, which can include:
- Broken bones
- Neck and head injuries
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Damage to internal organs
- Cuts and bruises
Negligent drivers in Texas are responsible for the damage that their carelessness causes. A victim may be able to recover:
- Medical expenses for past, current, and future treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages and future lost income
- Property damage
- Costs to pay for services that the victim cannot perform due to injury
- Non-monetary damages such as loss of companionship and loss of enjoyment of life
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Filing a car accident claim in Texas
If you were injured in a car accident, deadlines are important.
- Alert your car insurance company as soon as possible to preserve your right to file a claim if necessary.
- Speak with a lawyer about the applicable statute of limitations; if you do not file your lawsuit by the statutory deadline, you will waive the right to pursue a claim.
The statute of limitations for car accident injuries in Texas is two years, though some situations may extend it. If you are filing an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim for the accident, the time limit may be different based on the terms of the policy. It is always a good idea to speak with a lawyer to ensure you comply with the proper deadlines.
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Why hire a Forth Worth texting and driving accident attorney?
Our Fort Worth attorneys advocate for auto accident victims and their families. Personal injury claims can be complex, which is why we stand side-by-side with our clients every step of the way, so that they always know what is going on in their cases and what their options are.
Car accident victims deserve fair compensation but should not have to wait years to receive it. We understand these realities and work quickly and aggressively to settle cases for full compensation before filing a lawsuit. A case may be large or small, but it still means a lot to those impacted by the injuries. In either case, a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer is here to help. If we don’t win, you don’t pay. Contact us today to receive help!