As smartphones have become an ever-present part of American life, people have begun to use them in any and every situation. Even though public safety campaigns have made the dangers of texting while driving well-known, about 60% of drivers still regularly use their cell phones behind the wheel. In one poll, 77% of young adult drivers claimed they were “very or somewhat confident” that they can safely text while driving. Unfortunately, this arrogance far too often causes accidents which can result in serious injuries or even death.
When a responsible driver gets injured in an auto accident caused by another driver’s negligence, it’s important to ask how the accident occurred and how the victim can get financial support for both economic and noneconomic damages related to the accident. If you or someone you love has recently been injured by a texting driver, our Bronx car accident lawyers can help you seek financial compensation in a claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company.
New York State Law On Cell Phone Use While Driving
New York is one of 46 states (plus Washington DC) with laws against texting while driving. These laws also ban other types of portable device use while behind the wheel, including:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data like emails, text messages, or web pages
- Viewing, taking, or sending images
- Playing games
Drivers who get caught using their cell phones will have 5 points added to their license. If a driver receives 11 points in an 18-month period, he or she may have their license suspended. If an accident occurs while a cell phone is in use, that driver will likely be considered at-fault and subject to liability for the other driver’s accident-related expenses.
How Dangerous Is Texting While Driving?
Anyone who’s taken a driver’s education class or passed a driving test should know how important is to keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road at all times. Texting and other cell phone use behind the wheel violates both of these crucial safety rules.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are three main forms of distracted driving:
- Visual – taking your eyes away from the road
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel; and
- Cognitive – taking your mind off of driving
Texting combines all three forms of distraction. Your eyes are pointed down at your cell phone, instead of the road. You may only be driving with one hand while you hold your phone in the other. And you’re failing to stay aware of your surroundings, as your mind is more concerned with the content of your text. Sending or reading a text message takes about 5 seconds – when traveling at 55 mph, this means your eyes are off the road for the equivalent of a football field. This is more than enough time to cause a serious accident.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured By A Texting Driver?
Everything happens very quickly in a car accident. In most cases, the people involved in the accident may not immediately be aware of how it occurred. You may have personally witnessed the other driving using their cell phone before the collision, but you’ll need evidence to support this claim when determining who was at fault for the accident. This is why it’s important to seek out legal counsel from an experienced Bronx personal injury lawyer.
A knowledgeable and resourceful lawyer can analyze the circumstances surrounding your accident and work to gather evidence for a personal injury claim. This may include speaking with witnesses who may have seen the other driving using their cell phone or obtaining copies of cell phone records from the time of the accident. In most cases, the other driver is unlikely to admit that they were using their cell phone when the accident happened. But with the right lawyer on your side, you can still prove fault even without a confession.
Which Damages Can I Be Compensated For?
If you were involved in an accident caused by a texting driver, you’re eligible to recover financial compensation for all damages related to your accident, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium, funeral and burial expenses, etc. for family members of fatal accident victims
Every car accident lawsuit is different. The amount of financial compensation you’ll be awarded will be based on both the direct dollar cost of your economic expenses, along with the more subjective costs of noneconomic damages like pain and suffering. Our Bronx car accident lawyers can help you seek the maximum financial compensation you’re entitled to, and in many cases, we can help you arrive at a settlement without going to court.