The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that an average of nine people are killed in the United States every day by collisions caused by distracted drivers, many of whom are sending or reading text messages. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a texting and driving accident in El Paso, the legal team at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC can help you pursue justice.
For more than 30 years, our firm has helped accident victims obtain compensation and accountability for accidents that weren’t their fault. We know how to investigate a car accident, prove that the other driver was texting when they should not have been, and use that evidence to recover the money you need for crash-related losses. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation with a texting and driving accident lawyer in El Paso.
What Is Considered Distracted Driving?
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the safe operation of their vehicle. Three main types of distractions can occur while a driver is operating a motor vehicle:
- Visual distractions – Visual distractions take a driver’s eyes away from the road.
- Manual distractions – A manual distraction takes a driver’s hands off the steering wheel.
- Cognitive distractions – Cognitive distractions divert a driver’s mind from the vehicle’s operation.
Some of the most common sources of distracted driving include the following:
- Using a cell phone to talk or send or read text messages
- Eating or drinking
- Grooming or looking in the mirror
- Using or programming a GPS
- Talking to passengers
- Changing the radio station or using a car’s touchscreen menu
Dangers of Texting and Driving
Reading or sending a text message takes an average of five seconds. Although that may seem like a short amount of time, a driver who takes their eyes off the road for only five seconds while traveling at 55 miles per hour can travel the length of an entire football field without looking at the road ahead. The Texas Department of Transportation estimates that distracted drivers caused about one in five crashes on Texas roadways in one recent year. That same year, 431 people in Texas were killed in distracted driving collisions, and nearly 3,000 individuals were seriously injured.
Texting while driving is dangerous because it distracts drivers in three ways: visually, manually, and cognitively. Safe driving requires a driver’s full attention the entire time they are behind the wheel. Looking away from the road for even a few seconds can prevent a driver from seeing upcoming hazards or reacting in time to avoid collisions, particularly if traffic suddenly slows or stops.
Distracted driving accidents are preventable. To avoid distractions, drivers should leave their cell phones in the glove box, a purse or bag, or the back seat. They should also select music or look up directions before hitting the road. Young drivers are especially prone to text behind the wheel, so motorists who teach them to drive should set a good example and put their phones away while driving.
Texting and Driving Laws in Texas
Texting while driving is illegal in the state of Texas. Under the law, drivers are prohibited from sending or receiving text messages when driving. If a law enforcement officer catches an individual violating this law, the driver could face fines of up to $99 for a first offense and up to $200 for subsequent offenses.
Types of Accidents Caused by Texting and Driving
Drivers who text behind the wheel put themselves and other road users at risk. Texting while driving can lead to significant accidents, including the following:
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Sideswipe accidents
- T-bone accidents
- Rollover accidents
Determining Liability in a Texting While Driving Accident
Determining liability in a texting-while-driving accident can be challenging because it is not always easy to prove the other driver was texting when the crash occurred. You may suspect a careless driver was using their phone behind the wheel, but your attorney must present evidence to show this was the case.
Lawyers will often use the following types of evidence to build a robust case against the at-fault driver in a texting-while-driving accident:
- The other driver’s cell phone records
- The other motorist’s driving record
- The police report
- Statements from witnesses who saw the crash
- Testimony from accident reconstruction experts
Compensation in Texting and Driving Cases
If you were hurt by a driver texting behind the wheel, you could be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries and other losses. The total value of your compensation will vary depending on the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of the accident. You may be able to pursue financial relief for the following losses:
- Medical expenses related to treating your injuries, including hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, surgeries, physical therapy and rehabilitation, prescription medications, and mobility devices
- Lost wages if you cannot work while recovering from your injuries
- Loss of future earning potential if your injuries result in a permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work or being gainfully employed
- Costs of repairing or replacing damaged personal property
- Mental anguish and distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
Speak with a Distracted Driving Attorney
If you were injured by a driver who was texting behind the wheel, the team at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys are committed to helping injury victims seek financial relief and accountability from at-fault drivers. We have the experience, resources, and skills to investigate the crash that injured you and identify all possible sources of compensation.
Contact us today to get started with a free consultation with a distracted driving accident lawyer in El Paso.