On the road, any type of distraction can be dangerous. Divert your attention from the road for even a moment, and you may quickly find yourself needing a distracted driver accident lawyer. Distracted driving can be as dangerous as driving under the influence. It is also an act that endangers all motorists.
Learn more about distracted driving and numerous topics related to it by continuing with the rest of this article.
What Is Distracted Driving?
What constitutes distracted driving? That may be a question you have pondered at some point while trying to understand why engaging in that activity is so dangerous. To make things easier to grasp, let’s use the definition provided by the Texas Department of Transportation. Per TxDOT, distracted driving is partaking in any side activity that shifts your attention away from driving.
Using your smartphone while controlling your vehicle is a form of distracted driving and probably what most people think of when they hear the term. However, eating, drinking, fixing your appearance, and adjusting the radio or their car’s settings are also distractions. As you can see, distractions on the road can be quite varied. You may be engaging in distracted driving all the time without knowing it.
The driver who hit your vehicle may have also been distracted leading up to the crash. If that is the case, make sure you go after them with your distracted driver accident attorney.
How Many Accidents Are Being Caused by Distracted Drivers?
To understand why we need to avoid distracted driving, let’s take a few moments to acknowledge how dangerous it is. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people died in car accidents caused by distracted drivers in 2020. Still, those 3,142 people died because drivers could not devote their full attention to the road while driving.
We have some more recent numbers to parse through when it comes to the state of Texas specifically. Statistics provided by TxDOT reveal that a total of 93,560 crashes were caused by distracted drivers in Texas in 2021. Of those, 380 were fatal crashes, with 433 fatalities. On top of that, thousands of others sustained injuries following their involvement in distracted driving accidents.
If you turn your attention to Bexar County specifically, you will find that a total of 18,614 distracted driver accidents occurred there that same year. Bexar County leads the state of distracted driver accidents by a wide margin. Tragically, there were also 57 fatalities directly linked to those accidents. Get in touch with a San Antonio car accident lawyer immediately if you have an accident in San Antonio or any other part of Texas that a distracted driver caused.
What Are the Texas Laws Regarding Distracted Driving?
Your decision to engage in distracted driving can prove costly. The first time you engage in distracted driving, you will receive a fine of up to $99. A subsequent offense could be up to $200. Note that some counties impose harsher financial penalties for distracted driving. A driver may also face significantly harsher penalties if their negligent act leads to someone getting injured or killed.
Did a distracted driver victimize you? If so, Texas gives you two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim against your assailant. Enlist the help of a car crash attorney so you can get the ball rolling on your lawsuit faster.
Texas Cell Phone Laws
Texas has a few laws that curb the type of distracted driving that comes from cellphone usage. For instance, drivers cannot send or receive electronic messages while driving anywhere in Texas. Therefore, if you need to text or read a text message, you should pull over first.
Laws are even more restrictive for young and new drivers. Texas prohibits any driver under eighteen from using any handheld devices while driving. In addition, drivers who still have learner’s permits cannot use their cell phones during their first six months behind the wheel.
You must also avoid using any handheld device inside your vehicle while in a school zone. School bus drivers cannot use their cell phones whenever there are children present. Hire a car accident attorney if you believe that the driver who hit your vehicle violated one of those laws.
How Can a Lawyer Help if You Have Been in a Distracted Driving Crash?
If you are planning to take legal action against the driver who crashed into your vehicle, it is a good idea to hire a car accident lawyer first. But why is partnering with a San Antonio personal injury lawyer so important? Let’s answer that question by highlighting the services your lawyer can provide.
Collect Evidence to Bolster Your Case
You need to prove that the other driver being distracted directly led to the crash, and your lawyer can help with that. They can coordinate with the police, speak to witnesses, and collect video evidence to prove that the other driver was indeed being negligent in the moments leading up to the crash.
Handle Negotiations with the Other Side
Many personal injury lawsuits involving car accidents become settled before going in front of a judge. Settling is a good outcome, but that is only the case if you get a fair deal. Entrust the negotiations to your lawyer to get the best settlement deal possible.
Represent You in Court
You cannot assume that the other side will negotiate in good faith. If it is painfully clear that the other side will only accept a deal that disproportionately benefits them, then you should take the matter to court. Do not worry about heading to court as long as you have an experienced lawyer by your side.
Rideshare, Lyft, and Uber Distracted Driving
We are now seeing more people take legal action against companies such as Apple, Lyft, and Uber for their perceived role in growing the distracted driving problem. People claim that the companies are not doing enough to discourage drivers from using their smartphones while on the road.
All of us want to feel safe whenever we are driving. If companies are making the roads more dangerous, either directly or indirectly, they need to be held accountable for their actions and decisions.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Car Accident with a Distracted Driver
Making a critical mistake following your collision with a distracted driver could lead to you missing out on compensation. Follow the tips detailed below so you can avoid making that mistake.
Call 911 – You received injuries in a car accident but did not know how bad. At that point in time, you cannot risk your safety.
Place a call to 911 immediately and have the dispatcher send emergency responders to the scene of the accident. You should also ask them to send police officers to investigate what happened.
Gather Whatever Information/Evidence You Can – Since you are injured, you may not move around as much as you would like. Instead, focus on doing what you can while waiting for the emergency responders. You can speak to witnesses nearby and ask them about what happened. Ask them to also wait for the police so they can provide their testimony. If possible, you should approach the driver who caused your accident. Get important details like their name, contact details, and insurance information. Do not worry too much if you cannot approach the other driver because the police will speak to them.
Speak to the Police Officers – Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need to go to the hospital. Before leaving, you can speak to the police officers who are at the accident site. Tell them about the accident from your perspective. Getting your side out there is important, so the other driver does not control the narrative from the start. You should also get the names and contact details of the police officers so you can speak to them later.
Receive Treatment for Your Injuries – Get the emergency treatment you need as soon as you reach the hospital. You should also ask the doctor to hold on to your medical records. You will need those records when the time comes for you to proceed with the lawsuit.
Contact Your Auto Accident Attorney – After receiving emergency treatment, consider taking legal action. Contact your attorney as soon as you can and tell them about what happened. They can start working on your lawsuit as soon as the call wraps up. If you still do not have an attorney at this point, you should hire one as soon as possible.
Tell Your Insurer about the Car Accident – Lastly, you do need to tell your insurer that you were involved in an accident. Informing them is also advisable because it proves that you are taking the incident seriously. That is an important thing you can point to during negotiations. Avoid getting too detailed when you first tell the insurer about what happened. Then, your lawyer can take on the task of providing those additional details.
San Antonio Auto Accident Lawyers
Reach out to us at Barrus Injury Lawyers and allow us to help you recoup compensation from the negligent driver who caused your accident. Rest assured that you will receive the compensation you deserve when everything is said and done if we are on the case.