Whether you’re texting, or fumbling with your phone case, using a cell phone while driving can be a serious mistake. For some victims of car accidents caused by drivers who were distracted by their phone, it caused them to lose their life. In many cases, they weren’t even the driver who was texting.
Texting and driving causes serious accidents every day in the country, despite campaigns to discourage this behavior. Those drivers who are found negligent due to their texting while driving and who caused car accidents can be held accountable. Laws vary by jurisdiction, but they may find themselves in any of the following scenarios, and possibly more than one:
- Charged with manslaughter in a criminal case.
- Charged with homicide in a criminal case.
- Sued for wrongful death by the accident victim’s surviving family member.
- Sued for damages by accident victims.
- Fined for use of a cell phone while driving, which in some states can be as much as $500.
- Jail time while awaiting trial or bail.
- Prison time if convicted on criminal charges.
- Revocation or suspension of one’s driving privileges.
- Points added to one’s motor vehicle record.
- Required road and driving safety classes which can be expensive.
- Impoundment of one’s vehicle.
- Increase of auto insurance policy premiums.
The above are all in addition to the damage that may result to your vehicle and other property involved in the car accident. In addition, you may have your own personal injuries to cope with that resulted from the crash.
If you were texting and driving prior to a car accident, even if that wasn’t the cause of the accident, you can still be held liable, even in part. The other driver’s insurance company or attorney can claim that if you hadn’t been distracted with your phone, you may have made other driving choices and thus avoided the accident.
A car accident lawyer or criminal defense attorney may be able to reduce your charges and/or fines.
If you were using your cell phone, or even holding it in your hand, while driving and you get involved in an accident, you may be held liable. Even if the other driver was the instigator of the collision, in some states you could be held partially liable due to distracted driving. As a result, any compensation you might win from the at-fault driver would likely be reduced, possibly significantly. To establish negligence in a car accident case, the plaintiff’s attorney will have to prove the at-fault driver violated these four conditions:
- Duty of care. Legally, drivers must follow motor vehicle laws and drive in a safe manner.
- Breach of duty. If a driver does not fulfill their duty to be careful, they have breached that expectation of being responsible.
- Causation. Because the driver breached their duty of care, it caused the accident which in turn seriously injured another party or their property.
Texting and driving can lead to a serious or even fatal auto accident. If you were involved in a car accident that resulted in a personal injury, contact a personal injury lawyer or criminal defense attorney without delay.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hygee Phone Case for their added insights.