Distracted driving is still responsible for about 30,000 traffic fatalities every year in the United States, and texting is still one of the leading distractions that drivers face.
If you are injured by a negligent driver in the state of Texas – and if you can prove it – you are entitled under this state’s law to complete compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and all other related damages.
But if the driver who injured you was texting, will you be able to find out – and prove it?
The answer is yes, and that’s good news for injured accident victims here in Texas.
HOW CAN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER HELP?
With the help of an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney, anyone injured in traffic can obtain an at-fault driver’s telephone records to determine if that driver was receiving or sending a text message when the accident occurred.
If you’re hurt in a traffic collision caused by another driver, it’s imperative to acquire any and all evidence that might help you prove your claim. Your attorney can subpoena the other driver’s phone records, and in the state of Texas, you have every right to make that request.
To obtain another driver’s phone records after an accident, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim, and you’ll need to do that as quickly as possible after you’ve been injured.
AT THE SCENE OF THE CRASH, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
If you’re injured in a traffic accident in Texas, and if you believe that the other driver was texting when the accident happened, you’ll need to take several steps immediately – at the scene of the crash – and your lawyer will not be there to advise you.
Summon medical attention at once for yourself and for anyone else who is injured. If you don’t believe that you’ve been injured, it is still imperative to have a medical examination within the first 24 hours after a collision – in case you’ve sustained a latent or hard-to-detect injury.
Get the other driver’s contact information: name, address, phone number, license plate number, and if possible, the driver’s employer and his or her email address.
You also must exchange insurance information with the other driver. Get as many details as possible: the company’s name and phone number, the location of the nearest office, and the driver’s policy number.
WHAT ELSE IS IMPORTANT AT AN ACCIDENT SCENE?
Summon the police and make certain that you will be able to obtain a printout of the police accident report. Take plenty of photos of the vehicles, the accident scene, and your own visible injuries.
If eyewitnesses saw the collision, try to get their names and contact information. Your attorney may need to speak later with those eyewitnesses.
Proving that another driver was texting when he or she injured you will mean several extra steps for you and your injury lawyer, but phone records can be powerful and convincing evidence of negligent driving, so proving that the other driver was texting is usually worth the effort.
WHAT WILL IT COST YOU TO LEARN MORE – OR TAKE LEGAL ACTION?
Most personal injury lawyers in Texas work on a contingent fee basis. That means your lawyer will earn a fee only if he or she wins a settlement or verdict on your behalf.
Texas injury attorneys also offer accident victims a free initial consultation, so if you’ve been injured in Texas traffic, it costs you nothing to learn more about your rights and how Texas personal injury law might apply to your own case.
Of course, if you were the at-fault driver, you may not have any grounds for taking legal action, but if you were only partially at-fault for an accident, you might still be able to recover a percentage of your damages.
WHAT IS THE 51 PERCENT RULE?
Traffic accident cases in Texas follow the 51 Percent Rule. If you are injured in a vehicle collision in this state, you cannot recover damages if you are 51 percent or more at-fault.
If you are 50 percent or less at-fault for an accident, you may recover damages, but those damages will be reduced by the degree of your fault. If your damages total $10,000 for an accident where you were 10 percent at fault, you’re entitled to recover $9,000.
In most cases, a driver who is texting when an accident happens will be deemed 51 percent or more at-fault for that accident. Any exceptions to that would be quite rare and would probably mean that the other driver was exceedingly reckless and/or intoxicated.
The National Safety Council tells us that about 30 percent of Texas car crashes involve a driver using a phone to talk or text. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now says that texting while driving may be more dangerous statistically than driving while intoxicated.
WHAT IS THE TEXAS TEXTING-WHILE-DRIVING LAW?
Since September 2017, texting while driving has been against the law in the state of Texas. The fine for a first conviction is $99; for a second offense, it’s $200.
But it’s a difficult and cumbersome law to enforce. A police officer must see that a driver is using a phone specifically for texting.
And as you might guess, plenty of people are still texting and driving in the greater San Antonio area.
If you’re injured by one of them, discuss your rights and options – as quickly as possible – with an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney.
If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver, don’t even speak to an insurance company about the case.
This is vital. Don’t say anything to an insurance company, admit anything, or sign anything.
Simply refer the insurance company to your lawyer. That ensures that you won’t make a potentially incriminating statement, accept an insufficient settlement amount, or sign away any of your rights.
HOW QUICKLY DO YOU NEED TO ACT?
Finally, if you are injured by a driver who was texting, intoxicated, or negligent in any other way, you must act at once.
The statute of limitations for taking action in a Texas personal injury case arising from a traffic crash is two years from the date that the injury happened, the date that the injury is detected, or the date that the injury “should” have been detected.
Don’t wait two years – or even two weeks. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may become to win the compensation that’s rightfully yours.
If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver in Texas, put a good personal injury lawyer on your case – right now.