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Texting while driving is considered a form of distracted driving, and despite laws prohibiting this conduct in many states, drivers continue to exhibit this unsafe behavior. Using a cell phone to text while operating a vehicle places the driver and others at risk of harm because it affects the driver’s ability to react to road conditions through the visual, manual, and cognitive distraction posed by the phone. Many states, including Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia have specifically prohibited drivers from texting while operating a vehicle. Unfortunately, people violate these rules and cause serious collisions, injuring others on the road and even causing fatalities. When a driver texts while operating their vehicle, they are not meeting their obligation to drive carefully. At Gelb & Gelb, we seek to help plaintiffs hold negligent drivers legally accountable for harm they cause to accident victims. Washington, D.C. car accident lawyer Roger Gelb has personally represented thousands of clients. As the primary focus of Mr. Gelb’s legal practice, his dedication to vehicle collision victims has earned him recognition as a leading attorney in the area, and led to the recovery of multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts throughout Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.Asserting Your Legal Rights Following a Texting While Driving Accident
Texting while driving is not only dangerous behavior, it is also against the law in many states. Throughout Washington, D.C. as well as Virginia, motorists are prohibited from using an electronic device that is not hands-free. “Using” the phone includes talking on the phone or reading or composing written messages. Exceptions include making emergency calls, as well as turning cellphones on or off. In Virginia, the law does not prohibit holding a phone while driving, however, it is illegal to text while operating a vehicle.
Negligence is a legal term for conduct that fails to demonstrate the required level of care in a given situation. This legal theory often forms the basis for personal injury claims following a car crash when the at-fault driver has violated their duty of care. To establish the negligence of a driver who caused an accident, the victim shows that the driver owed them a duty of care, breached this duty, and directly caused the accident and resulting harm. When a driver’s negligence results in a vehicle collision, such as a texting while driving accident, that driver may be liable for damages caused to others.
Personal injury claims based on negligence are evaluated based on the conduct of a reasonable person. First, the victim plaintiff shows that they were owed a duty of care, and often this element of negligence is satisfied by setting forth the argument that all drivers owe others a duty to avoid causing harm to others on the road. Abiding by the rules of the road and obeying traffic signals is considered reasonable behavior. Paying proper attention to the road is also expected conduct, and a breach of this may be shown by a driver who is looking at their mobile device. Texting while driving exposes others to danger, and failing to look for others on the road likely breaches the driver’s legal duty of care.
Proving that a driver was texting at the time of a crash may require obtaining records from their phone company. Traffic cameras may also be relied upon to capture the moment at which the accident occurred. Witness testimony can help establish that the driver was on their cell phone, or texting right before the collision. In some situations, the driver may admit that they were texting at the time of the accident. A dedicated accident lawyer can help you obtain the necessary evidence in your case.
Next, the victim must show this breached duty of care directly caused the accident. Causation is determined by evidence that the distracted driver failed to abide by traffic rules, for example, and this led to the victim’s injuries. There cannot be other, intervening causes that led to the crash. If the texting driver’s negligence led to an accident, they will be liable for the victim’s damages, or costs associated with the crash.
When calculating damages suffered in the accident, the victim includes all costs resulting from the crash. Because these damages are intended to place the victim in the place they would be in had the accident not occurred, they can include a range of damages associated with physical and emotional harm, wages from work missed due to injuries, medical treatment, and damage to a vehicle. If future medical care is necessary, these costs may also be included in a damages calculation.Washington, D.C. Lawyer for Car Accident Victims
The emotional and physical devastation following an accident can be overwhelming, and financial security can help victims focus on healing. After a texting while driving accident, Washington, D.C. attorney Roger Gelb can evaluate your case in detail and help you set forth a claim for compensation. At Gelb & Gelb, our compassionate approach ensures that you feel supported throughout the legal process of asserting your rights. Throughout your case, you will communicate with Mr. Gelb personally. To learn more, call our office at (202) 331-7227 or fill out our online form. We represent people throughout the areas of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.