The dangers of texting while driving are well-documented. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, when a driver texts, she takes her eyes of the road for roughly five seconds, essentially traveling blind. Anything can happen in those five seconds. She can run a red light, veer into oncoming traffic, or hit a pedestrian. Far too many people are senselessly injured and killed every day as a result of texting and driving.
If you or a loved one was injured in a texting while driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. A texting while driving accident lawyer in Pittsburgh at Berger and Green can help. Call our office at 412-611-1400 for a free consult to discuss your case, learn what your legal options are, and how to maximize your settlement.
Is it illegal to text and drive in Pittsburgh?
Everyone knows how dangerous texting and driving is, but that does not stop many drivers from doing it. Approximately 1,180 people are injured every single day in America in traffic accidents involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
To make our roads safer, Pennsylvania lawmakers made texting while driving illegal in March of 2012. Since then, it has been illegal for drivers to use a cellphone or any other handheld device to text, email, or instant message behind the wheel.
Furthermore, this ban is a primary law in Pennsylvania, meaning you can be pulled over for simply texting and driving. If a law enforcement officer sees you texting while driving, that is enough to warrant her to stop and cite you. (The current fine for texting and driving is $50.)
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Is a driver that was texting at fault for an accident?
Every driver has a legal duty of care to drive in a safe manner so as not to put other road users at risk of harm. Texting while driving is a prime example of breaching a duty of care, i.e., fault.
If a driver’s eyes, mind, and hands are preoccupied with texting, he cannot also give driving the focus it needs. This is exceptionally dangerous.
Nearly 1,100 crashes in 2010 in Pennsylvania involved at least one driver who was texting while driving; these accidents resulted in countless injuries and 11 deaths, reports the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
So, when it comes to car accident claims and lawsuits, driving distractedly is certainly a form of negligence. If the driver who caused your accident was texting at the time of collision, you will likely be able to hold him or her responsible for any harm caused.
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How do I prove the driver’s texting caused the accident?
In order to win a claim or settlement against a driver (the defendant) for a texting while driving accident, you will need to show that the defendant was using the phone at the time of the accident. This is not always easy.
Given that texting while driving is illegal and would make her liable for damages, the driver is probably is not going to readily admit to it.
So, you will need to obtain proof to support your case. It is highly advisable to have an attorney help you gather evidence, especially if fault is questionable. There are a couple of things that can help prove negligence in your case:
- Eyewitnesses may be able to testify that the driver was texting or looking at her phone at the time of the crash.
- The police report may notate a citation the defendant received for texting and driving.
- Probably the most viable piece of evidence you can use is the defendant’s phone records. They will show the exact time the driver sent and received texts. When you work with Berger and Green, we can obtain a copy of the records and use it support your case.
What types of damages are recoverable in these accidents?
If you win your texting while driving accident case, you can recover various types of damages, including the following:
You can receive compensation for all of your current and future out-of-pocket injury-related expenses and losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Mental health therapy and counseling
- Loss of work benefits and perks
- The cost of modifying your home to accommodate your disability
- Long-term care
Typically called “pain and suffering” or “general damages,” non-monetary damages include all the intangible harms you have experienced as a result of the accident.
Mental anguish, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are examples of compensable pain and suffering damages.
The insurer or courts/jury will consider the severity of your injuries and their effect on your life when awarding you with non-monetary damages.
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Do I need an attorney for a texting-related accident case?
While it is not required to have an attorney represent you in a texting while driving case, you will definitely want to consider retaining a lawyer to improve the likelihood of winning your case.
Our car accident attorneys at Berger and Green know how to prove liability in texting while driving cases and how to maximize our clients’ damages, but also how to resolve a case quickly — so that you can get the compensation you need without unnecessary delay.
There are a lot of complex and important issues in a personal injury case that most people are not familiar with. You may not be proficient in things such as collecting evidence, subpoenaing phone records, calculating future damages, writing a demand letter, negotiating with insurance adjusters, drafting court documents — but Berger and Green is.
Berger and Green attorneys are dedicated to serving injured accident victims in Pittsburgh. And there is no financial risk in using our services; we work on a contingency basis, which means we do not charge you unless and until we win your case. Let us help you pursue the justice and full recovery you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation today: 412-661-1400.