Imagine leisurely driving down the highway, heading into your job when – crash! Your car’s entire left side has crumpled in. You get out of the car and see the person who hit you is still staring down at their cell phone, barely noticing they’ve caused the crash.
Getting hit while someone is texting and driving is both incredibly frustrating and potentially disastrous. You may be able to escape with minor injuries, but there have been many cases where texting and driving has caused deaths. If someone has hurt you as a result of their careless driving, you should receive proper compensation for their error.
What legal rights do you have when someone is texting while driving? Keep reading and learn more about the texting and driving laws that are in place.
Why is texting and driving such a problem?
There’s a common perception that texting and driving isn’t a big deal. After all, it’s just a quick text, right? However, in the time it takes to read a single text message while driving 55 MPH, one could cover the length of a football field. Those few seconds add up when you’re in a car that’s zooming down the road.
It’s not uncommon either. It’s estimated that, at any time in the United States, around 135,300 drivers are using a handheld device. Think about the number of people you see driving down the road on any given day. It’s frightening to consider how many may be on their phones.
People also fail to realize the amount of injuries and deaths that occur from distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,450 people in 2016 alone. Someone who texts and drives is willingly putting the lives of thousands of people at risk.
What can happen when someone texts and drives?
Aside from the risk of hurting or killing someone else, texting and driving comes with some other serious consequences. Depending on your state, disobeying distracted driving laws may result in these outcomes:
- Monetary fines
- Criminal charges
- Jail time
- Points on license
- Suspension of license
- Road safety classes
- Vehicle impoundment
What if I think someone was texting and driving when they hit me?
When a cop arrives to the scene of a wreck, they can’t just take someone’s phone if they suspect texting was involved. You’ll have to go through the proper legal channels in order to prove texting while driving.
Before you start your litigation, follow these tips:
- Make sure it’s illegal. As strange as it may sound, there are states where texting and driving isn’t illegal. This means that, though they may be liable for the accident itself, they may not be held liable for texting. Check with your state and local laws to see if this could be used in your legal strategy.
- Get the cops involved. Immediately after an accident, you should contact your local police force. They can arrive to the scene to help make a report about the incident which can later be used in court. Be sure to tell the cop everything you remember in a clear and concise manner. Especially mention if you believe they were texting, as this can be harder to prove after the fact. Every detail you can recall can help bolster your case.
- Consider a subpoena for cell phone records. If possible, try to subpoena the cell phone records of the person who hit you. The records can tell you when any texts were sent or received, which can help to prove they were texting and driving while your crash occurred.
Time is of the essence when it comes to an accident, so it’s important for you to act fast when it comes to reporting. Making notes of every detail of the accident will help you if you choose to pursue legal action in the future.
If you were injured in a car accident due to someone’s negligence, contact Tolbert Beadle.
Our personal injury attorneys are experts in the field and will work to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.