If you have been involved in a roadway accident in Texas, you know the possibility of serious injuries is high. You are also aware that you must prove who was at fault for the accident before you can collect compensation from them. If you are injured because of someone who was paying more attention to their cell phone than the road, then you need to know how to prove you were hit by someone texting while driving.
How to Prove a Texting While Driving Accident
Texas Hands-Free Driving Rules
Since 2015, drivers in Texas have been required to use hands-free devices while operating a motor vehicle. Younger drivers, specifically those under the age of 18, are prohibited from using even a hands-free device. This does not mean you cannot be injured by someone texting and driving, as we know that many people ignore these restrictions.
Obtaining Proof of Texting While Driving
The first step is to prove that the other driver involved in the accident was using their cell phone. There are several options for doing this, which include:
- Cell Phone Records — Cell phone records may be obtained to prove that a driver was on their cell phone at the time of a collision. An experienced car accident lawyer can take legal steps to obtain the appropriate records.
- Witness Statements — In some cases, your attorney may seek information from witnesses to the accident. Witnesses may have seen a driver using their cell phone in the moments immediately before an accident.
- Accident Report from Law Enforcement — Accident reports which are filed by the officers who arrive at the scene may contain information which clearly points the blame for the accident to a driver who was texting while driving.
- Traffic Cam or Surveillance Camera Footage — If your accident occurred in a metropolitan area of Texas where there are traffic cameras, this information may be requested by your attorney. At the scene of the accident, there may be other surveillance footage available from retail establishments, home cameras, or ATM machines.
- Accident Reconstruction Team Information — When there is no other evidence available, your attorney may hire an accident reconstructionist in order to prove someone was texting while driving.
An car accident lawyer can help ensure you obtain the critical evidence to support your case. Without an attorney, you may overlook key evidence – or otherwise reach a dead end that we can help you overcome.
Time Frames and Texting While Driving Accidents
Many accident victims lose sight of the fact that they have a limited amount of time to file a claim against a driver responsible for their injuries. Generally, the Texas statute of limitations on personal injury cases, like motor vehicle accidents, is two years. (*Always speak directly to an attorney for the exact deadlines that apply to your potential claim(s).) This may sound like a long time, but you need to remember that other factors weigh heavily on your ability to prove fault.
Surveillance camera footage does not last forever. In many cases, traffic camera footage and personal or retail camera information is deleted within 30 to 60 days. Without taking immediate action, you could lose access to important data which would help prove you were hit by someone who was texting while driving.
Witnesses’ memories will also wane over time. When someone is a witness to a car accident, they often continue about their everyday life after the accident and the details simply slip their mind. If you have been proactive about seeking legal advice following a distracted driving accident, the chances of getting a reliable statement from a witness are pretty good.
Distracted Driving Statistics in Texas
Across Texas in one recent year, there were more than 12,000 roadway accidents which resulted in an injury to a driver, pedestrian, passenger, bicyclist, or pedestrian. The number of people who suffered a serious injury exceeded 14,500. In total, nearly 3,900 people lost their lives. Distracted driving was identified as the cause of nearly 400 deaths.
Drivers who are operating in an unsafe manner on Texas roadways are a menace to everyone they are sharing the road with. These drivers must be held accountable for their dangerous actions, and the best way to do that is to work closely with a distracted driver accident lawyer.
Compensation for Victims of Texting While Driving
You should be able to seek compensation after you have suffered an injury due to a driver who was driving while texting. There are certain losses which nearly all victims suffer.
- Medical expenses — These expenses include not only the costs you are paying out of pocket for treatment immediately following your accident, but the cost of future medical treatment in the event of a disabling injury.
- Loss of income — Any loss of earning power in the immediate aftermath of the accident which caused your injury, and future loss of earnings, can be submitted as part of your insurance claim.
- Damage to property — Your vehicle damage can be included in your insurance claim. This may be especially important if you had a relatively new vehicle and it was seriously damaged or totaled in the accident.
- Pain and suffering — Depending on numerous factors, we may be able to help you get compensation for the pain and suffering which resulted from your injuries.
- Scars or disability — Some victims face life-long scarring or other disfigurement following a car accident, for example, due to glass being strewn around the interior of the vehicle during the crash. Disability can be a result of your injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Insurance Company Negotiations and Texting Accidents
The first step to getting compensation for your injuries is to file an insurance claim. However, you should use caution when speaking with an insurer. Oftentimes, they will ask you for permission to record your statement. You should refuse. These recordings are not for the purpose of making sure you get the compensation you deserve for your injury. Instead, they are taken in the hopes that you will make an error and your claim will be diminished.
When speaking with an insurer, you should provide them with the basic information they need and then refer them to your Texas auto accident attorney. This is the best way to ensure that you are not giving up any important rights, and to make sure you do not inadvertently provide the insurer with information which may jeopardize your final settlement.
Out-of-Court Settlements or Going to Court
Your car accident attorney will work hard to reach a reasonable settlement with the insurance company of the at-fault party. These negotiations are not always successful. This is one of the reasons why it is so critical to work with a lawyer following an accident. If you are attempting to negotiate on your own, chances are the insurer will employ tactics to extend the process to force you to accept a last-minute settlement.
When you work with an attorney who has experience with texting while driving accidents, they will not only help you navigate the insurance claim process, but there are other important things they can help you with. For example, if the insurer does not offer a settlement which you and your attorney find acceptable, then a lawyer who is experienced will be prepared to take the responsible party to court.
The truth is that most settlements are made out of court. However, it is still a good idea to be prepared for the possibility that the insurer will not treat your losses fairly and will offer you a significantly lower settlement than you might be able to collect in court.
Remember this — when you are working with a lawyer, you still remain in control of the settlement negotiations. Your attorney is responsible for informing you of any settlement offers which are made to you, and you make the final decision as to whether to accept the offer. Your attorney will advise you of the pros and cons of the settlement offer, and help you decide what is best for you and your family.
Why Working With an Accident Injury Lawyer Matters
Working with a lawyer means you have someone who is serving as your advocate during a difficult time in your life. You are burdened by being unable to work, you are facing financial challenges because of the loss of income, and you are uncertain about what the future may hold.
Some people do not contact a Texas accident injury lawyer because they feel they can work out a reasonable settlement on their own. This can be a mistake because insurers know you are vulnerable, and they have a vested interest in paying as little as possible for a legitimate claim.
Once you accept an insurance settlement, the insurance companies no longer have any financial obligation to you as a victim. That means even if you incur additional financial losses after a claim is settled, then they have no further obligation to cover those losses.
Contact a Texas Accident and Injury Lawyer Immediately
Contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today by calling (713) 973-8888 and scheduling a free case review. Our attorneys may be able to help you prove you were hit by someone who was texting while driving. Your focus should be on your physical recovery. Let us focus on dealing with your insurance claim and helping you get the compensation which you should be entitled to for your injuries and other losses.