What Do I Do If The Other Driver Was Texting While Driving?
In modern American society, cellphones are nearly ubiquitous. Though laws are often slow to catch up with technological trends, lawmakers in Texas have officially made texting while driving illegal. A person injured in an accident in which the other driver was texting while driving, or on their cellphone in other capacities, may be entitled to significant compensation above and beyond what they could recover in other crashes. For this reason, it is best to get help from experienced legal counsel in Dallas who can work to evaluate the injured person’s compensation package.
Dallas Car Accident Lawyers has worked on texting while driving accident cases in the past. Due to the fact that texting is a form of distracted driving that takes the driver’s focus off of the roadway, these wrecks can be at higher speeds and may cause more serious injuries than other types of collisions. If you have suffered broken bones, severe burns, paralysis, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), or any other serious health issue as a result of a texting while driving accident, get in touch with our knowledgeable car accident attorneys today.
How House Bill 62 Affects My Claim
On September 1, 2017, House Bill 62 took effect throughout Texas. With the passing of this new law, the state legislature made the use of cellphones to look at, send, or write text messages or emails while driving. Additionally, the law increased the penalties associated with texting while driving. Though criminal cases and civil lawsuits are separate matters, the fact that the opposing driver broke the law by texting while driving can factor into your claim in a variety of ways. The first is by heightening their level of fault.
Fault and My Compensation
It is vital that you and your knowledgeable Dallas car accident lawyer pin as much fault as possible on the opposing driver in your claim. This is because Texas is a modified comparative negligence state that uses a system of proportionate responsibility when deciding on compensation. There are two major parts of this system.
- You may sue for compensation as long as you are no more than 50% at fault.
- Your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault.
In other words, if you are found by the court to be 15% responsible for your car crash, your total compensation will be reduced by 15% as well. Thus, finding evidence of the other driver’s texting while driving habits can cause the court to increase their portion of blame and thereby evaluate your recovery.
Another way that House Bill 62 may impact your claim is through the addition of exemplary damages. This is a term that denotes extra compensation awarded by the jury in situations that involve severe negligence or a total disregard for the safety of others. Texting while driving has been used as a reason for the implementation of exemplary damages in the past, as has drunk driving.
You and your attorney do not argue directly for these additional damages. Instead, a skilled Dallas car crash lawyer may present evidence of the opposing driver’s fault that shows their disregard for public safety, causing the jury to decide to award exemplary damages. Such evidence can include cellphone records, for instance. One important issue to note is that exemplary damages are limited by law to the higher of the following two amounts:
- Two times the value of your financial damages, plus up to $750,000 of the non-financial harms you experience
Obtaining Cell Phone Records
Americans, and Texans in particular, value our personal privacy. This can come into conflict with the need for evidence in personal injury claims. For example, obtaining cell phone records is a notoriously difficult process because cell phone companies want to respect the privacy rights of citizens. Still, law enforcement authorities are able to get cell phone records after obtaining an appropriate search warrant under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure §18.0215.
If you need to gather cellphone records as evidence in a civil case, such as a lawsuit for your personal injury claim, the issue can be a bit trickier. It is best to discuss your options with experienced Dallas car wreck lawyers who are knowledgeable about the process of retrieving the records of text messages.
Getting a Dallas Car Accident Lawyer for My Claim
Dallas Car Accident Lawyers are well-versed in texting while driving car accidents. Our attorneys understand how to navigate the process of obtaining cell phone records, lowering your percentage of fault, and the full value of your claim.
Get a FREE consultation with our skilled staff by calling (214) 305-8277 or entering your information on our contact page. Remember: we do not collect a fee unless and unless we win your case!