Texting and driving is a dangerous combination, and it can significantly increase the risk that a driver causes an accident. Those who are on their phone at the time of an accident may be deemed to be negligent in causing it to occur. If negligent behavior plays a role in a car crash, an injured victim may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
What Is Negligence?
Not all car accidents are caused by a driver’s negligent actions. Negligence occurs when a person violates a duty of care that he or she had to another party. In this scenario, a driver has a duty to ensure that his or her actions don’t put other drivers in danger.
Examples of reckless driving may include going too fast for road conditions or driving while impaired. Furthermore, for a person to be negligent in causing a car crash, you will need to have suffered an injury that results in financial loss. Furthermore, the accident needs to be the proximate cause of the crash.
Using a Phone Takes a Driver’s Focus Off of the Road
A car can travel the length of a football field in the time that it takes to glance at a phone. Depending on where the distraction occurs, that could result in a driver running through a stop sign or through a red light. It could also mean that a vehicle goes through a crosswalk and collides with a pedestrian.
Hands-Free Devices Don’t Necessarily Help
The use of a hands-free device doesn’t necessarily make it any safer to make a phone call or receive a text message. Even if the message is read aloud through the radio, a driver still needs to divert some of his or her attention away from the road and to hearing the message. It may also be necessary to focus on what buttons need to be hit on a steering wheel or center console screen to activate the hands-free system.
Texting While Driving Can Result in More Severe Accidents
Generally speaking, car accidents that occur because a person was texting and driving are more severe than a typical collision. This is because those who are distracted don’t even notice that someone is in a crosswalk or that traffic has slowed down in front of them. Therefore, they collide with a vehicle or person at a high rate of speed. Drivers who cause such accidents may be responsible for replacing a crash victim’s car or any other property that was damaged.
What Happens If You Are Involved In a Crash With a Distracted Driver?
If you are involved in a car accident with someone who was using a smartphone while driving, you could be entitled to compensation. This is generally true whether you were in another vehicle or a passenger in the vehicle that caused the accident. Compensation could also be available if you were walking or on a bicycle when hit by a car or truck.
To obtain compensation, it is important to prove that negligence caused the accident to happen. In some cases, the driver who caused the crash will admit that he or she was on a phone when the collision took place. However, there is a chance that he or she will deny that this was the case. In such a scenario, physical evidence and cell phone records will be used to establish that a person was distracted by a phone when a wreck occurred.
It is also possible that a police officer who responds on the scene will check a driver’s cellphone upon arriving. If there is a recent call, text message or other activity recorded on the phone, it can be used as evidence in a civil case. Physical evidence such as a failure to brake can be another sign of negligent driving.
Many Types of Drivers Are Banned From Using Cell Phones
Those who drive commercial trucks are generally not allowed to use a cellphone while driving except to make emergency calls. States throughout the country have also put in place bans on using a phone without the use of a hands-free device. Minors are generally not allowed to use their cellphone while operating a motor vehicle of any kind.
Despite the presence of such laws, drivers can still be tempted to use their phones out of a fear of missing what their friends or doing or the latest developments at work. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to avoid using your phone while driving as well as staying out of the path of those who are using their phones.
How Can Drivers Avoid Using Their Phones While Driving?
Those who have a hard time being away from their phones can take steps to make sure that they are not in use while driving. For instance, the phones themselves may come with apps that allow you to restrict certain features while a car is in motion. While the car is moving, the phone will tell anyone who makes a call or sends a text to your number that you are unavailable at the moment.
When the car stops, the phone will once again be able to send and receive calls and messages. If you don’t like the idea of blocking phone calls or texts while on the road, place your phone in a bag in a rear seat or any other location where you can’t reach it. This will force you to pull to the side of the road to check the phone safely.
How Can You Avoid Distracted Drivers?
While you can’t control what other drivers do, there are ways to account for their actions. For instance, it may be effective to increase your following distance when driving behind someone on their phone. It can also be a good idea to change lanes or take other actions that can put more distance between yourself and a distracted driver. Finally, look for signs that a driver may be braking or making a lane change such as tail lights getting brighter or tires pointing to the left or right instead of straight ahead.
Don’t Hesitate to Talk With an Attorney
Although you can take action to avoid distracted drivers, you are not responsible for their actions. They are responsible for their own negligent behavior in causing your injuries or causing damage to your vehicle. An attorney can review your case for free to determine the different types of compensation that may be available to you.
At the consultation, be sure to bring evidence such as witness statements or photos from the crash scene. Of course, an attorney can help to gather evidence in your case as well in the event that you were too injured to do so yourself. Working with an attorney may also reduce the chances that you accept a settlement from an insurance company or the person who caused the accident to occur.
Generally speaking, you don’t have to pay an accident attorney unless you win your case. In the event that you do win a financial award, a percentage of that award may be taken as a fee for services rendered. This makes it possible to obtain qualified counsel regardless of your financial resources.