Houston Cellphones Accident Lawyer
According to statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),20,000 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver between 2012 and 2017. Almost 10% of all fatal crashes over the past six years or so involved a distracted driver as well.
Although texting and driving is not exactly a new phenomenon, it has become an increasingly worrisome issue on our roads. The spread of social media, the ubiquity of cellphones in particular and technology in general, habitual checking of messages and updates every few minutes, and the incidence rate at which people fall prey to the need to check their phones while driving has resulted in thousands of annual deaths and an estimated $129 billion in damages, lost productivity, and healthcare costs.
The use of a cellphone while driving is not only costly and recklessly negligent, but it is also illegal. As such, using a cellphone while driving can lead to heavy fines and even criminal litigation if it leads to injuries, property damage, or a traffic fatality.
Cellphone Usage and Distracted Driving
Using a cellphone while behind the wheel of a vehicle is just one type of distracted driving. Speaking to other passengers, eating, grooming, applying makeup, or adjusting the radio are also forms of distracted driving. At an average speed of 55 miles per hour, you travel about one football field every five seconds or so. Taking your eyes off the road during this time to see a text message or look at an update on your phone is equivalent to driving that distance totally blindfolded.
Other examples of distracted driving as a result of cellphone usage include:
- Using only one hand on the steering wheel to drive.
- Taking your eyes off the road – even for a few seconds – to pick up your phone, call someone, or send a text.
- Failing to see other vehicles on the road, or temporarily losing focus and concentration as a result of seeing or receiving a surprise update or an unexpected piece of news on your phone.
Liability for Cellphone Accidents
There are a number of different parties that can be held liable for an accident that was caused by or simply involved the use of a cellphone. These include:
- The distracted driver who was using this or her phone and caused the accident
- The insurer of the distracted driver
- You, in case contributory negligence laws are used to determine that you also played a part in causing the accident
- Your insurer, since they are obligated to cover you up to your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) limit regardless of who caused the accident
- Your insurer will also be responsible for covering you for hit-and-run accident in which the guilty party cannot be identified, and also for underinsured and uninsured accident cases where the at-fault party responsible for the accident is underinsured or uninsured
- An employer may be held responsible if an employee caused an accident as a result of conducting official company business on the phone when the accident occurred
- A parent, in case a minor is found to be responsible for the negligent driving of their minor child
Combating Cellphone Use While Driving
Prevention is better than cure, so many states have made texting while driving illegal, with ‘texting’ here used as an umbrella term to mean any use of a phone while driving. The NHTSA found that drivers in the 16 to 24 age bracket and females have the highest accident rates when it comes to distracted driving. While an accident can happen at any time, here are a few tips to help fight the distracted driving epidemic:
- If you absolutely must send or receive an important message, first pull over, park your car, and then attend to the message at hand.
- Appoint one of your passengers as your designated texter and cellphone user on your behalf while you drive.
- If all else fails, try keeping your cellphone locked away or in your trunk whenever you drive.
We Are Here to Help
If you have been involved in a distracted driving or a cellphone-related accident, call us today at 713-677-2253. We can help you with your damages claim and we will take on your case on a contingency basis with no up-front costs until you win your settlement. We have the skills, experience, and professional networks you need to collect evidence in support of your claim, identify all of the recovery avenues that are open to you, and file a claim with your insurance provider and against a negligent third-party, if applicable. Call now.
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