Austin Distracted Driving Lawyers
Were you hurt in an accident caused by a distracted driver? Were they looking at their phone, changing the stereo, interacting with passengers, or otherwise not paying attention when they hit you? If so, you could be owed compensation for the harm you’ve suffered and the financial losses you’ve incurred. The Austin car accident lawyers of Gibson Hill Personal Injury understand just how dangerous distracted driving can be, and we are ready to help those who’ve been hurt get justice.
A distracted driver is a negligent driver. If someone’s poor decisions hurt you or someone you love, turn to us for help. We’ll hold them accountable and will demand the full compensation you’re eligible to claim. Don’t wait until it is too late to get what you’re owed. Call us at (713) 659-4000 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team today.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is a threat to the safety of drivers all over the U.S., and Austin is no exception. At least one person is killed every single day because someone is distracted behind the wheel. Texting seems to cause more accidents than any other type of distraction. Even if you use voice to text options, it still takes your mind off of your surroundings and decreases your response time.
When you look down at your phone to read or send a text, it takes an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, you could travel the entire length of a football field in that seemingly small amount of time. Even looking away from the road in front of you for one second puts everyone at risk. Your surroundings could change in the blink of an eye and create hazardous conditions.
Texting isn’t the only type of distraction seen on the roads. Distracted driving takes many forms. It includes any activity that takes your focus off of the road and onto something else. The following activities are all examples of distracted driving:
- Changing the radio
- Using GPS
- Brushing hair
- Applying makeup
- Checking email
- Posting to social media
- Talking to passengers
If a distracted driver causes an injury accident or kills someone, they can and should be held accountable for what they’ve done. An experienced injury attorney can make sure that victims or surviving family members get the answers, compensation, and justice that they deserve.
Distracted Driving Laws in Texas
Texas was far behind other states in the legal game. It wasn’t until 2017 that it finally enacted laws against distracted driving, making it the 47th state to ban texting while driving. The recent law prohibits the use of cell phones under the following circumstances:
- All electronic messaging: texting, emailing, instant messaging.
- If you’re under 18 years of age, you’re not allowed to use any wireless communication device.
- If you’re over the age of 18 with a learner’s permit, the law prohibits you from using a handheld cell phone within the first six months of driving.
- You can’t use a cell phone if you’re operating a school bus with children present.
- When you’re in a school crossing zone, no driver is allowed to use a handheld device.
Despite the laws against texting while driving, it’s still legal to use your cell phone for other purposes. You’re allowed to text if you’re sitting at a red light, talk on the phone, and use headphones. Additionally, Texas laws only ban texting but don’t take into consideration the other dangerous kinds of distracted driving.
Liability in Austin Distracted Driving Accidents
If you’re injured in an accident because the other person was distracted, you could potentially seek compensation from them. In any traffic crash, there’s always a question of liability. You must be able to prove the other driver caused your injury if you want to hold them financially responsible.
Proving liability requires sufficient evidence. If you can submit documentation to the insurance carrier that shows the other person caused the accident, there’s a good chance you’ll collect a financial award. The most critical pieces of evidence you’ll need includes:
- Police report citing the other motorist was at fault
- Copy of the other driver’s auto insurance policy
- Your medical records showing the injury you sustained and treatment required to recover
- Witnesses that saw the negligent party was on their cell phone or distracted in some way
In the state of Texas, drivers must carry auto insurance with minimum bodily injury and property damage limits. If you’re the victim of an accident, you could file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The amount of money you could recover is up to the maximum limit they purchased on their policy.
What Type of Settlement Could I Receive?
The settlement amount in a car accident depends on various factors. Whether your injury was minor or severe, you deserve compensation if the other driver was entirely at fault. The relevant details contributing to the compensation you’re entitled to include:
- The total cost of medically necessary treatment
- The severity of the injury
- Lost income from the inability to work
- Insurance limits available
- Evidence and documentation
- If modified comparative negligence existed
If you decide to file an insurance claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company, the adjuster will review all factors above. The information you submit to them impacts the settlement offer they provide. If you’re able to prove the other individual was responsible for the crash and your injuries resulted from it, you could potentially receive the maximum compensation available.
Texas compensation laws dictate the damages you could seek compensation for if you were the victim of a car crash. The economic damages most people incur include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Household services
Noneconomic damages are also available, but a bit harder to prove because there’s typically no tangible documentation of it. Common types of noneconomic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of companionship
In instances where the other motorist’s actions were extremely reckless, you could seek compensation for punitive damages. Punitive damages don’t reimburse you for your losses; instead, it punishes the person responsible for your suffering. Usually, victims looking for a payout directly from the at-fault driver will file a lawsuit against them.
What Does the Lawsuit Process Look Like?
Every state throughout the country sets a statute of limitations in auto accident cases. In Texas, you must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the wreck to seek compensation for your injury. The courts strictly enforce the two-year deadline. If two years pass, it’s pretty much impossible to sue the liable driver for any amount of money.
A lawsuit is generally more involved than an insurance claim. When you file a liability claim, you’re not required to do that much other than sign forms and submit documentation. Lawsuits, on the other hand, require additional participation in a variety of legal procedures.
If the defense attorney requests a deposition (recorded interview) from you, you’re likely going to have to do it. Providing documents they ask for isn’t optional. You’ll also need to be present during mediation (settlement negotiations).
The other side will dig into your past, obtain personal information, and look for any reason to not pay you or get the case dismissed. It’s a very complex and invasive process, which is why filing an insurance claim is always a great first option.
If the insurance carrier denies your claim or offers you less than you deserve, that’s when pursuing a lawsuit could prove beneficial. Additionally, distracted driving is entirely irresponsible, and something the at-fault party should get punished for doing. A lawsuit is a great way to seek justice and deter them from making the same mistake again.
Do I Need a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer?
It’s not necessary to seek legal representation for your auto accident case; however, it could be an advantage. Most people who try to handle their insurance claim or lawsuit end up with less money than they deserve, or nothing at all.
When you hire an experienced lawyer from Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we will guide you through the process. We know the ins and outs of legal proceedings and how to prove liability in car accidents. We’ll use the resources at our disposal to recover a full and fair settlement in your case.
Instead of looking for evidence yourself, your lawyer will do it for you. Immediately after you retain our firm, we’ll investigate the crash and start collecting the proof we need. If you’ve never filed a claim or lawsuit before, you might not know the critical information you need to build a solid case. Your attorney will look for the following evidence and records:
- Photos of the accident scene
- Video surveillance of the car wreck
- Individuals who witnessed the collision
- Copies of insurance policies
- Your medical records and medical bills
- Police reports
Often, locating witnesses and requesting records are complex tasks. It requires knowing where to look and how to go about getting the information you need. With a dedicated lawyer by your side, you can feel confident knowing nothing will fall through the cracks. We’ll protect your rights and ensure the opposing party treats you fairly at all times.
Hurt by a Distracted Driver? Call Gibson Hill Personal Injury Today
The Austin car accident lawyers from Gibson Hill Personal Injury will do everything in our power to get you the justice you deserve. We aim to provide unmatched customer service you can trust. We understand the overwhelming feeling of getting injured in an accident. You’re in pain and stressed about the seemingly long road ahead.
Our experience allows us to file your insurance claim, communicate with opposing parties, and take your case to trial when necessary. You won’t have to lift a finger during your case. It’s our goal to take care of the complicated process for you, so you don’t feel any additional burden.
If you’re ready to meet with us to discuss your options, we offer an initial free consultation. There’s no risk or obligation to meet with us and receive sound legal advice. Our team is available 24/7, so you can reach us when it’s most convenient for you. We’re here to answer all your questions and help you move forward with your life. Call us at (713) 659-4000 today.