What to Do if You're Hurt By a Motorist Who Was Texting While Driving
We can't deny that we live in a digitally dependent world. You've probably seen drivers who decide to take a phone call or return a text while behind the wheel. And while there are approximately 6 million car accidents that occur in the U.S. every year, most of us know that these distracted driving behaviors put us at higher risk of a motor vehicle crash.
Still, there are motorists who are willing to take that risk and continue to engage in these behaviors. Not only are they highly dangerous, but they're often highly illegal. The state of California actually has several laws on the books that ban the use of cell phones while behind the wheel. The use of handheld wireless phones is completely banned, while drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using even hands-free wireless technology while operating a vehicle. What's more, the use of electronic devices -- including the behavior of texting -- while behind the wheel is forbidden by law.
And yet, many drivers still take the chance. The light penalty associated with texting and driving might have something to do with it. The base fines for violating California's texting while driving laws are $20 for a first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses. Of course, if texting while driving is the root cause of a serious accident, the consequences will generally be much more severe.
But if you're hurt in a car accident and believe that a texting driver was at fault, what should you do? Here are some general steps to follow to increase the chances of a favorable outcome, particularly if you decide to work with a personal injury attorney Mission Viejo residents rely on to file a claim.
- Seek Medical Attention: Don't be tempted to downplay your injuries. Not only could the adrenaline rush of an accident make you believe you're not hurt as badly as you actually are, but forgoing immediate medical care can make it more difficult for your injuries to be documented. That could cause problems for your car accident attorneys down the line. The sooner you seek medical care, the sooner you'll be able to heal -- and the more accurate information you'll be able to provide.
- File and Obtain a Police Report: If you or witnesses at the scene observed the other driver texting or otherwise using their phone, it's important that this be included in the report. This could result in the other driver receiving a ticket for texting, which can then play a key role in any claim you choose to file later on. Although the other driver may not be keen to admit that they were texting at the time of the accident, the testimony from eye witnesses and your own observations can make all the difference. Make sure that you obtain a copy of this police report for your records.
- Hire an Experienced Lawyer: If you have sustained injuries due to the crash and feel strongly that the other driver was at fault for the accident, it's a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney Mission Viejo drivers can rely on for texting and driving cases. Your lawyer can gather evidence to use in your case, like telephone records from the other driver and other important evidence from the scene. If you try to file a claim without help from an attorney, it may be difficult for you to prove your case and resolve it in a positive way.
If you've been injured in a distracted driving crash, you need a personal injury attorney Mission Viejo motorists can trust. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.