If you had to guess how many vehicle accidents occur every year due to distracted driving, what percentage would you come up with? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about10 percent of fatal crashes in 2012 were linked to distraction. One of today's biggest distractions is the cell phone.
Texting while driving is a serious concern throughout the United States. The National Safety Council reports that in one year, about 600 Colorado residents died in car accidents that were preventable. Additionally, reports suggest that distracted driving is increasing, not going away.
Have you recently been hit by a driver who was texting? You have options. Here are a few things you need to know.
Drivers Who Text Can Be Held Liable for Car Accidents
The truth is that using a cellphone while driving is a distraction no matter how long it takes the driver's eyes away from the road. In the time it takes to read a text message, a driver has moved yards.
Financially, drivers who cause accidents due to texting may be ordered to pay for your medical bills, car repairs and lost wages. You may even be eligible to receive funds for pain and suffering.
Car Accident Lawsuits Have a Statue of Limitations
It is important that you speak with your attorney quickly after you are in the accident. There is a three-year statute of limitations on vehicular accidents, but it is pertinent that you speak with a personal injury lawyer sooner. This is because there are many different pieces of evidence that may be eliminated over time.
Texting Laws Have Changed
In the middle of 2017, Colorado law changed to increase textinglaw fines to $300. At the same time, the complex law technically made it legal to text and drive as long as the driver is not behaving in a "careless or imprudent manner." The only exception is for drivers under 18, who are always barred from driving and talking or texting.
This change means that the way drivers are ticketed has changed too. Officers must see the driver using the phone firsthand before witnessing careless driving. When drivers using their phone are involved in a traffic accident, they may receive a common citation.
What this means is that you might need to gather more evidence than you used to in the past. A witness statement is no longer enough for a police officer to ticket a driver with distracted driving; they must personally witness it.
Evidence Is Available in Texting and Driving Cases
Even if an officer was not available to see the texting as the accident occurred, there are ways lawyers can obtain evidence. Cell phone records are available, but a phone company may not hand them over without a court order. Many of these records are kept for just short periods of time as well. The quicker you inform your attorney, the more useful records will be.
Dashcam video or video (taken by a passenger) can be useful too. The video may show the driver using a phone in the moments or seconds before the accident.
Medical Care Is Critical
It's frightening to think about all the ways medical bills pile up after a car accident, but without medical treatment you may not be eligible to receive financial compensation for your injuries. You cannot be compensated for treatment you did not receive, and you might lose out on pain and suffering as well as evidence of lost wages too. Always accept the medical treatment.
Do you feel like you are facing an uphill battle after being the victim of a texting driver? Weoffer the tools you need to receive the compensation you deserve.