When a person allows any distraction to get in the way of driving a vehicle, it puts everyone on the road in danger. However, because texting involves visual, manual and cognitive distraction, it may be the most dangerous type of distracted driving. There is no excuse for it.
If a texting driver harmed you or caused the loss of a loved one in a car accident, you have the right to seek a full financial recovery for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering and more. The Sloan Firm can help you to pursue all compensation that you are due.
Our attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal experience, including representing people in Texas and New Mexico who were hurt in distracted driving accidents. We provide personalized, client-centered representation that focuses on what is important to our clients. What matters to you, matters to us.
To learn more about how we can help in your texting accident case, call or reach us online today. We will provide a free consultation through our offices in Longview, Houston or Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Why Is Texting While Driving So Dangerous?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calls texting “the most alarming distraction.” Texting requires you to think about the message, look at a screen to read it and manually type and send the text or activate a screen to access the text – all the while, you should be focused on driving your car.
A landmark study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that sending or reading a text actually takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. If you travel at a speed of 55 mph, that is akin to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes on your phone instead of the road. Drivers triple their risk of getting into a crash when they reach for a phone, dial or text, the VTTI reports. Even hands-free cell phone use involves visual-manual tasks at least half of the time and increases the risk of a crash.
More recent studies have found problems caused by texting and driving. For instance, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) recently released a study which found that drivers have a “sixth sense.” It kicks in when drivers become moderately distracted, and it prompts them to protect themselves. The researchers found that texting while driving requires so much from the driver’s manual, visual and cognitive senses that it “wreaks havoc” on the sixth sense and, in turn, leads to accidents.
Statistics further illustrate the dangers of texting while driving. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that one in five traffic crashes in Texas involves distracted driving. In 2016 alone, distracted driving in Texas caused:
- 109,658 crashes
- More than 3,000 injuries
- 455 deaths.
According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), driver inattention – including any cell phone use – contributed in 2015 to:
- 9,405 traffic crashes
- Nearly 1,000 injuries
- 28 deaths.
At The Sloan Firm, we seek justice every day for people who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones in car accidents. We recognize that these numbers represent real people whose lives have been upended by a driver’s careless decision to text or allow other actions to distract them from safe driving. If you or a loved one has been harmed in distracted driving accident in Texas or New Mexico, we want to help you.
What Are Texting and Driving Laws in Texas and New Mexico?
Texas law prohibits “electronic messaging” by drivers of all ages. The ban covers texting, e-mailing and instant messaging. Additionally, the law bars drivers under age 18 from using wireless communications devices of any kind when they are behind the wheel. Drivers with learner’s permits cannot use hand-held cell phones in the first six months of driving. Texas also bans the use of hand-held devices in school crossing zones. In addition to state law, more than 60 Texas cities have local distracted driving laws, including Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Amarillo, Galveston, El Paso and Corpus Christi.
Under New Mexico law, drivers cannot text or talk on the phone or otherwise use a hand-held mobile communication device. Drivers can still talk on the phone if they use a hands-free device. The law allows drivers to text only in emergency situations. Local ordinances restrict cell phone use and/or texting while driving in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Silver City, Gallup, Taos and Espanola.
If the other driver in your car accident is found guilty of texting, it would present “per se” evidence of negligence. This evidence would help your personal injury claim against the driver. However, civil actions are separate from criminal charges. Your ability to pursue a civil claim will not depend on whether the other driver was convicted of a texting offense.
To learn more about how state and local texting laws could affect your claim against a texting driver, contact The Sloan Firm. We will review your case for free and aggressively seek all compensation you are due for your losses.
Our Law Firm’s Approach to Texting While Driving Accident Cases
The attorneys of The Sloan Firm have more than a combined 150 years of experience with handling car accident lawsuits and other personal injury claims. With the prevalence of cell phone use in recent years, we have handled more and more cases that involve texting while driving.
Theses crashes tend to have common facts. For instance, the accident scene may have short skid marks or no skid marks at all. This is because distracted drivers typically fail to recognize an impending collision, and they fail to brake or swerve in time to avoid it. Additionally, texting drivers often drift out of their lane and cause a sideswipe accident, or they run off the road and overcorrect, which causes them to crash into another vehicle.
In addition to the accident scene and vehicle damage, our law firm will gather and analyze evidence in texting accidents that includes:
- The police accident report – Even if police issued no ticket, we will want to see the crash report that a responding officer prepared.
- Eyewitness statements – Passengers and bystanders can describe whether they actually saw the driver texting shortly before the crash or looking down at something such as a phone.
- Driver activity records – We can obtain the other driver’s cell phone records, which may indicate texting activity at the time of the crash. We can also seek access to the other driver’s social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Those accounts may have posts which show the driver’s actions behind the wheel.
- Surveillance camera footage – Public and private security cameras record much of what goes on. We will check at and around the site of your accident for cameras that may show the accident or the other driver’s activities shortly before the crash.
The Sloan Firm will move quickly to investigate your accident and prepare a claim for maximum compensation for you. By contacting us quickly after an accident, you can help us to preserve evidence before it gets lost or destroyed.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Texting Accident Case?
Naturally, The Sloan Firm will focus our investigation on the driver who caused your accident. However, as part of our effort to obtain all available compensation for your losses, we will also investigate whether others should be liable your crash. Those parties could include:
- The driver’s employer – If a driver was on the job at the time of the crash, the driver’s employer could be responsible for the driver’s negligence. This rule could apply to a commercial driver of a large truck or delivery van to a sales consultant making daily rounds or traveling to a conference.
- The correspondent – It takes two to text. A person who sends or receives text messages from a person whom they know is driving could potentially be liable for any harm that the driver causes.
- The manufacturer – In at least one case in Texas, the injured party in a fatal texting while driving case claimed that the smartphone manufacturer had a duty to prevent drivers from using its devices in illegal and dangerous ways. A legal claim could assert that the manufacturer knew the risks of texting while driving and had the ability to install lockout technology that would have prevented the phone’s use while a person was driving.
Our law firm believes it is essential to explore every possible option as we pursue a full and fair financial recovery for our clients.
What Compensation Could You Recover in a Texting Accident Claim?
The compensation that you seek in a personal injury claim will depend on the severity and type of injuries that you have suffered. For instance, serious injuries can lead to significant medical expenses. Also, many people injured in motor vehicle accidents cannot return to work and earn a living. Some injuries may cause chronic pain, disfigurement and/or cognitive problems and leave the injured in need of assistance with everyday tasks of life.
A personal injury claim may seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses – A claim can demand payment of all medical care required because of the accident, from emergency medical responders’ care through hospitalization, surgery and rehabilitation. In cases of permanent disability, our law firm often works with experts who develop life care plans to project future medical costs.
- Loss of income – A claim may also seek damages for lost salary or wages due to missed work time. If an accident causes a disability, we can calculate and seek any future income that is lost due to diminished earning capacity, including the value of lost fringe benefits and reasonably anticipated salary increases.
- Pain and suffering – This is payment for non-economic losses, including physical pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment of a normal life and loss of consortium.
- Punitive damages – If the other driver was grossly negligent or engaged in willful conduct that caused the accident, punitive damages may be warranted to punish and deter that conduct.
- Wrongful death damages – In a fatal accident, a wrongful death claim would seek a special set of damages, including funeral and burial expenses and the loss of a breadwinner’s income.
The Sloan Firm sees the person behind the injury. In your texting accident case, we will fully calculate your damages and prepare a claim that meets your unique needs and goals. We will get to know you and your family and learn about the life you enjoyed before you were injured. What matters to you will matter to us.
Wrongful Death from Texting and Driving
If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident due to texting and driving, we can help. We help clients with their wrongful death car accident claims in:
- Santa Fe
Contact Our Longview Texting and Driving Claim Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a texting driver, contact The Sloan Firm for legal representation today. We will pursue full compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering and more. We will focus on the specific losses that you have suffered and what you will need to put your life back in order.
Contact us today for a free consultation through our offices in Longview, Houston and Santa Fe and learn more about how we can put our legal skill, experience and resources to work for you.