Although California Vehicle Code Section 23123.5 makes it illegal to text while operating a motor vehicle, it’s on the rise in Orange County. In fact, the National Safety Council estimates that texting-related crashes account for 6 percent of all crashes. According to California Highway Patrol officer Rodrigo Jimenez, it’s never okay to text and drive, even when you’re stopped at a red light. It’s not just a matter of putting yourself at risk; you’re also putting everyone else on the road at risk as well. Texting while driving accidents often leads to severe injuries because the offender usually doesn’t brake before causing the accident.
If you have recently been involved in a texting while driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an Orange County texting while driving accident attorney at the Crockett Law Group to learn about how we can help you maximize your settlement. Call (800) 900-9393 for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Orange County.
What Percentage of Wrecks Are Caused By Texting And Driving?
Cell phones are involved in an estimated 27 percent of all car crashes according to the National Safety Council. This means that more than one in four people who are injured in an accident is a victim of a driver who had been texting or talking on their phone in some capacity. Make no mistake about it, texting and driving is distracted driving.
Did you know that if you’re driving at 55 mph, it only takes 5 seconds to drive the entire length of a football field? So, if you’re texting and driving even for just a few seconds, you can cover quite a bit of ground and cause quite a bit of damage.
Statistically speaking, millennials are the most likely age group to text and drive. According to the American Automobile Association, drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 are 1.6 times as likely as all drivers to read a text while driving, and almost twice as likely to type or send a text while driving.
California Texting While Driving Laws
These are two really important California laws that govern distracted driving generally and texting while driving in particular:
- It’s illegal for California drivers to use a handheld phone to call, read, or type while operating a motor vehicle
- Drivers under the age of 18 years cannot use an electronic device while operating a motor vehicle… at all. Not even if the device is “hands-free.”
A “hands-free system” is defined as a phone that is mounted on the dashboard or windshield, and that can be activated/deactivated with a “single swipe.” So, for example, talking on the phone while it sits in your lap would technically not qualify as being “hands-free.”Luckily, most modern vehicles have the ability to use Bluetooth technology to send sound to the car’s speakers so you don’t need to install cumbersome brackets and mounts anymore.
Voice-activated dialing is another practical safety feature. Some vehicles now come with technology that will read your texts out loud to you and allow you to respond to them using voice recognition software. This reduces the likelihood that a driver will physically check their phone to read a text while they drive.
How Can I Prove a Driver Caused an Accident While Texting?
In order to collect damages from a driver that injured you because they were texting and driving, you have to prove the following four elements:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care (All drivers owe other drivers a duty of care on the road)
- The driver breached their duty of care by texting
- You were injured because of that breach (and not for some other reason)
- Now you’re injured
Although you need to prove each one of these elements, the hardest one to prove is element #2: the other driver breached their duty of care by texting while driving. It’s probably going to be your word against their word unless either (a) they admit to texting while driving to their insurance company, or (b) a police officer happens to witness it and cites them for it.
Element #3 can also cause problems sometimes. Consider this: let’s say there’s another driver on the road who he’s texting while stopped at a red light, and then you rear-end him. You’re at fault. Whether he was texting and driving is irrelevant because your injuries were caused by your inattention, not his.
Here’s another example where it can be hard to prove element #3. Let’s say you’re rear-ended by someone who was texting while driving and he even admits it! However, he barely tapped your car. Even you can’t find a scratch on either of your cars, but now you want to claim that you sustained bleeding in your brain as a result of this accident. It also turns out that you have a history of hemorrhagic strokes. Sure he was texting while driving and sure he caused an accident, but you’ll have a tough time proving that the accident caused the bleeding in your brain.
This is why it’s important to work with an experienced Orange County texting while driving accident attorney to ensure that you present the strongest case possible to the insurance company.
What Are the Dangers of Texting While Driving?
Everyone acknowledges that drunk driving is dangerous, both for the passengers in the car with the drunk driver and for everyone else on the road. Well, texting while driving is actually more dangerous. Texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk. In fact, texting while driving is responsible for causing some of the most severe injuries we come across at our firm.
Here are some of the most common injuries we typically see from people who sustained injuries at the hands of an Orange County, CA, driver who was texting while driving:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Herniated disc injury
- Nerve damage
- Burn injury
- Brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Wrongful death
Can You Sue Someone For Texting While Driving If They Cause An Accident?
Absolutely. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a driver who was texting while driving, you have a right to pursue a claim against that person. Although, usually the best course of action is to open up a claim with the other driver’s insurance company and recover money that way.
Your injuries will probably require extensive medical care that can be very expensive. You also probably lost time from work, whether that means the doctor gave you an off-work note or you had to use your PTO or vacation time. You’ve probably been dealing with a great deal of pain, suffering, and mental anguish as a result of the injuries you sustained. All of this is recoverable and compensable.
You can, and should, pursue a claim against the at-fault driver.
Orange County Texting While Driving Accident Attorneys
Approximately 390,000 injuries occur every year from accidents that involve a driver who was texting while driving. A lot of those accidents happen here in Orange County. Orange County has some of the busiest and backed up roads in the entire country. Because of that, you’ll notice that a lot of drivers are texting while they drive to help pass the time. If you’ve been injured by one of them, hold them responsible.
As Orange County texting while driving accident attorneys, we regularly represent the interests of victims who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. Crockett Law Group is committed to handling your injury claim from start to finish and will fight to make sure that you receive the money you deserve. If you’ve been injured at the hands of a driver who was texting while driving, contact the Crockett Law Group to speak with our personal injury attorneys in Orange County at (800) 900-9393.