I Hit Someone While Texting – Do I Need A Lawyer?
Causing injury to somebody as a result of texting while driving could have criminal consequences. If a person caused bodily injury by means of assault or battery, or driving under the influence, few would wonder if they should hire an attorney or not, because it is almost automatic and intuitive. This is also true if you have caused injury because of negligent driving (i.e., texting while driving).
A car accident is 23 times more likely to occur when a driver is texting, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). NHTSA studies have found that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 (the legal drinking limit in most states). Once an auto accident has occurred while engaged in texting and driving, that person texting is now liable for both bodily injury and property damage, at the least. Everything that person has worked for and is working towards, is now on the line. Depending on your worth; your home, business, savings, or any other asset is up for grabs because you are now “on the hook” for making somebody (or a group of persons) whole again (back in the position they were in before the injury), as much as humanly possible. In the worst case scenario, the texting driver could be compensating surviving family members for wrongful death.
Every driver owes a standard duty of care to all other motorists on the road. That duty would be to operate a vehicle in the most responsible and safest way for themselves and every other driver on the road, by obeying all traffic laws and highway signs. The moment there is contact made with a mobile device to read or dispatch a text message while driving, you have just breached that duty of care and are now liable to all injured parties for any and all harm and damages sustained as a direct or indirect result of your negligent driving. It is almost guaranteed that litigation will ensue, imminently. Therefore, the sooner you lawyer up, the better.
The victim(s) will now come to collect “reasonable damages”: Besides the obvious, like property damage, there will be an enormous amount of physical and economic injury, such as: medical bills (including costs for medication, physical therapy, surgery, future medical needs, and any other medical procedure), burial expenses (if a death occurred), pain/suffering and emotional distress (this amount can be very speculative, the value of which would be determined by life expectancy, quality of life before the accident, and capacity to earn a living, etc.), lost wages, and married couples always make a claim for a loss of consortium (inability to maintain an intimate relationship with their spouse).
If no settlement is reached and a civil suit is initiated, victims will produce evidence to use against a texting driver in the court of law, for instance: facts indicating a cell phone was in use at the time of the collision (usually an admission, or mobile phone records from cell phone provider, or cell phone towers), incident reports drafted by the investigating law enforcement agency, surveillance cameras, reconstruction experts, and medical records.
Dealing with this type of trauma will be agonizing enough without dealing with insurance representatives, who will be an entirely different stress factor. That is why it is imperative to have a lawyer on hand to deal with the sophistication and savviness of an insurance adjuster, their legal team, and other professionals. If you hit someone while texting, you will need a lawyer during all phases, starting with the initial investigation and all the way through trial. The Ritholz Law Firm has the experience, compassion, and aggressiveness required to help you address the consequences of hitting someone while texting and driving.