If you were texting while driving, and an auto accident occurred that injured you, you may have many questions. You may be wondering if the fact that you were texting can affect a personal injury claim or whether you can even file one if you were texting. Or you may be wondering how you can show the other driver was at fault, even if you were texting. Here are a few of the questions you may have and the answers to these questions.
Are You Automatically at Fault for an Accident If You Were Texting and Driving?
If you are texting while driving when an accident occurs, you will most likely have some liability for the accident. This is because it is your responsibility to be alert and aware of hazards while you are operating a motor vehicle. If you take your eyes off of the road for even a split second, your focus isn't on the road, which is why you can be found partially responsible for the accident. However, just because you were texting does not automatically make the entire accident your fault, even in states where texting while driving is illegal. The police and insurance company will still look at all of the factors surrounding the crash and determine the level of fault each driver had. For example, you may have been texting and driving, but if the other driver ran a red light and hit you, they have more fault than you. Likewise, if you are texting while stopped at a light and a driver rear-ends you, the amount of fault you may have may be minimal or even nonexistent.
Can You File a Personal Injury Claim if You Were Texting and Driving When the Accident Occurred?
If you were injured in a car accident and are found to have some fault for the accident because you were texting, you may be wondering if you can file a personal injury claim against the other responsible party. A personal injury claim can help you recoup your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the accident. The answer to this question depends on the state you live in. For example, if you live in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia, you live in a state that has contributory negligence laws on the book. This means that if you have any fault in the accident, no matter how minute it may be, you can't file a personal injury claim.
All other states follow comparative negligence laws. This means that you can file a claim against the other party if they had some responsibility for the accident. However, your claim will be reduced by the percentage of negligence or responsibility you had for the accident. This means that if you are found to have 40 percent fault for the accident, and you would be entitled to $20,000 for your settlement, you will only be awarded $12,000. The reason for this reduction is that you partially caused the accident, so you are responsible for 40 percent of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How Can You Show the Other Driver Was at Fault after a Car Accident?
If you were texting while driving when an injury accident occurred, it is important to work quickly in order to preserve the evidence you may need to show the other driver had some fault in the accident. Taking pictures of the accident scene, obtaining a police report, and getting contact information from all witnesses who saw the crash are important ways to preserve this evidence. If you were injured and are considering filing a personal injury claim, speaking with an auto accident attorney as quickly as possible is also recommended. They can help preserve evidence and recreate the accident scene to reduce your liability in an auto accident.
It is always recommended that you avoid texting while driving. It is unsafe and can lead to a collision. However, if you did not heed this advice and find yourself involved in auto accident while you were driving, your head may be swirling with questions. Getting answers to the questions you have will help you to better understand what you need to do and how texting while driving may affect any personal injury claim you are considering filing after the accident.