Texting and Driving – A Deadly Combination
Distracted driving, primarily through texting, is one of the leading causes of car crashes not only in Seattle, but across the country. For example, the National Highway Safety Administration has reported that distracted driving now results in more than 430,000 bodily injuries and more than 3,000 fatalities each year. With the continued proliferation of technology and mobile devices, texting crashes are likely to increase.
As experienced Seattle distracted driving lawyers for texting accidents and other personal injury and wrongful death, we are tenacious in representing injured victims who suffered significant bodily injuries, and the families who have lost a loved one, due to distracted drivers. We work tirelessly to ensure that those responsible for causing crashes and injury are held fully accountable for their negligent and reckless behavior, including future damages. With a car accident injury claim, we can help you in seeking full compensation for all damages, including your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Texting Crashes are Not Accidents
Studies have shown that texting while driving is not that much different than drunk driving in terms of a driver being unable to properly control a vehicle. Likewise, when drivers make a deliberate decision to text while driving, this decision is no different than making a decision to get behind the wheel after drinking.
As with drunk driving crashes, crashes that result from texting are not accidents. Instead, they are both foreseeable and predictable. Similarly, the injuries and death that result from texting crashes are no less painful than those occurring as the result of drunk driving.
State Lawmakers Restrict Cell Phone Use in Vehicles
In Washington State, our legislators have recognized how dangerous texting is. In 2017, lawmakers in Washington State passed the “Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act” (DUIE). This law effectively prohibits the use of virtually all handheld phones, tablets, laptop computers and gaming devices by drivers. In this regard, Washington State has been at the forefront of addressing texting and driving issue, and (according to USA Today), one of the first states to pass a law specifically prohibiting texting while driving.
The new law broadens the restrictions by forbidding the use of handheld phones while driving, including composing or reading any kind of message, picture or data. Photography while driving is also against the law in Washington. Further, motorists cannot use handheld devices while at a stop sign or red-light signal.
Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving Still Occur at a Disturbingly High Rate
Despite these legislative efforts, each year many Washingtonians suffer catastrophic bodily injuries and lose their lives in collisions with distracted motorists. For example, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that distracted driving is a contributing cause of approximately 30 percent of all automobile accident fatalities and make up 23 percent of all serious injury collisions in Washington, according to Komonews.com. That translates into hundreds of motorists who lose their lives and families torn apart due to the sudden and untimely death of a parent, child, or sibling.
How We Work to Prove Negligence in Crashes Caused by Texting
As with all accidents, in order to prevail at trial, the plaintiff (the person injured or the family who lost a loved one) must prove that the other driver was negligent. Legally, this means that such driver had a duty to others (such as a duty to drive safely), and that the driver breached this duty in some fashion (such as texting while driving).
If there is reason to believe that the driver may have been texting while driving, we will want to subpoena the phone records of the other driver to find out if, in fact, the other driver was texting. We can also depose the other driver (make them answer questions under oath) and ask them if they were texting. They must answer truthfully, otherwise they can be guilty of perjury.
If there were others in the vehicle of the driver causing the accident, we can also depose them, and ask if the driver was texting at the time of the accident. There may also be witnesses to the accident who may have noticed that the driver was busy texting immediately before, and at the time of, the accident.
In addition to other witnesses, sometimes there is also video evidence of a crash. Today, because video cameras are often located at major intersections and in the storefronts of nearby businesses, crashes are now commonly captured on video. If video exists of a crash, this video may also show that a driver was texting.
Having this evidence will be extremely important in establishing liability, as we all know that a person cannot be paying full attention to driving if they are texting at the same time.
The Role of Insurance Companies in Crashes
If the other driver has insurance, the insurance company will be involved in defending a lawsuit, including settlement negotiations. Typically, lawyers hired by the insurance company will be defending the driver allegedly at fault, and the insurance company will play a critical role in settlement negotiations.
The insurance company will often take the initial approach that their driver is not at fault, despite the allegations to the contrary. However, when indisputable facts are introduced – such as phone records showing that their driver was texting at the time of the accident – they are often much more willing to engage in meaningful settlement negotiations. If they are not willing to pay full and fair damages for a crash, then we will proceed to trial and seek to hold the other driver fully accountable, and will introduce this evidence to a jury.
Call Us for a Free Consultation to Learn How We Can Help
We offer a free, no obligation consultation so that we may learn about your car crash, and so that you can ask us any questions that you may have concerning your options for legal recovery.
At this consultation, we can also discuss the strength of your case and the types of damages to which you may be entitled. If you retain our firm, unless otherwise agreed, we will serve as your attorneys on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no fees to us unless and until we recover a settlement or judgment for you. In addition, we normally advance all litigation costs (such as court fees, deposition costs, and expert witness fees) on behalf of clients so they do not need to be concerned about paying such costs while their case is proceeding (these costs are then typically paid back from settlement proceeds or jury awards).