In 2016, distracted driving contributed to 8,210 crashes in Tarrant County alone. Twenty-three people lost their lives that year and hundreds more suffered incapacitating injuries because careless drivers decided another activity was more important than safe driving. Distracted driving accidents are incredibly tragic because they are so easy to prevent. A text, the last fry in the bag, or finding the right radio station on your mobile device can wait.
When distracted drivers cause devastating accidents around Fort Worth, the attorneys at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert are here to help. We have seen how distracted driving behaviors ruin the lives of those who cause accidents and those who suffer from them. Our ultimate goal is to use our legal skills to reduce the total number of distracted driving accidents on Texas roadways. If you suffered from a distracted driving accident, you deserve compensation for your losses and the opportunity to discourage dangerous distracted driving behavior in the future.
How Our Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you sustained injuries in a distracted driving accident in the Fort Worth area, you need the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. on your side. Our attorneys have the litigation experience necessary to represent your case. We have hands-on experience in multiple areas of car accident lawsuits and insurance claims, including dangerous distracted driving. Our attorneys solely focus on personal injury law for maximum attention and expertise on your case.
- When you need to establish a strong case against a distracted driver, you need to hire an attorney experienced and skilled in personal injury law. Our lead attorney, Aaron A. Herbert, is a specialist in personal injury law and holds board certification in the area, granted by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. In fact, Herbert is proud to be one of fewer than 2% of attorneys within the entire state of Texas to hold this certification.
- Since our firm focuses solely on personal injury law, we have substantial knowledge of the evidence, procedure, and courtroom processes you will encounter in your case. We know how to collect evidence and interview witnesses and experts to craft a compelling argument for your compensation. Aaron A. Herbert has handled over fifty jury trials in personal injury case law alone, and has assisted countless other clients with settling outside of the courtroom.
- Because of our strong experience in personal injury law and comfort with car accident cases, our firm has a strong track record of success for our clients. We have obtained high amounts of compensation on behalf of our clients, settling most of these cases outside of the courtroom to cut down on the stress and expense of trials. We know how to resolve your case and we have the results to prove it.
- When you choose another law firm to represent you in your distracted driving claim, you will often experience less than personalized attention. At the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, our attorneys will never ignore your case. We provide undivided and personal attention during every stage of your case, from consultation to settlement. We will meet with you to discuss the facts of your case and collect necessary evidence to boost your case’s chances of success.
How to Prove Negligence in Distracted Driving Cases
When you file a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim against a distracted driver in Texas, you will have to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. Once you establish this negligence, you can hold the other driver legally liable for your injuries. To establish negligence, you and your distracted driving accident attorney will need to satisfy a series of elements to prove negligence.
- First, you will need to prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care. This duty refers to the legal responsibility of the other driver to act responsibly toward you. All drivers owe a legal duty of care to other drivers on the road to obey all applicable traffic laws and drive in a safe, reasonable manner. By virtue of you both being in a vehicle at the time of the accident, you can establish this duty of care.
- Next, you will need to prove that the other driver breached his or her duty of care to you. This element will be one of the most difficult to prove. If the other driver was driving while distracted in some way, such as being on the phone or talking to someone else in the vehicle, you can establish this element. Your attorney can determine the breach of care by reviewing all applicable evidence in your case, such as security footage and witness testimony.
- After you establish the breach of care, you will need to prove that the breach directly led to your injuries. If you were following all applicable traffic laws and driving safely, but the other driver was so distracted that he or she breached a traffic law, you can prove this causation. For example, if you were crossing at a green light and the other driver crashed into you and caused your injuries, you can prove this causation.
- Finally, you will need to prove that you suffered damages as a result of the injuries caused by the other driver’s breach of care. These damages can be economic or noneconomic in nature, and may include punitive damages for especially negligent behavior. These damages can include past and future medical expenses, vehicle and other property damage, lost wages, and various pain and suffering damages.
How to Prove the Driver Who Hit You Was Texting
If a texting driver caused your accident and you know or suspect that he or she was texting behind the wheel, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff so it is up to you and your Fort Worth distracted driving attorney to prove that the at-fault driver was indeed texting while driving. This may require a subpoena for the defendant’s phone records, securing footage from traffic cameras that covered the scene of the accident, or testimony from eyewitnesses who may have spotted the defendant using his or her phone behind the wheel.
Why Hire a Distracted Driving Accident Attorney?
The moments after an accident with a distracted driver in Fort Worth can be disorienting and confusing. The injuries you sustain during this incident can lead to unexpected medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and emotional anguish. Many drivers decide to pursue their distracted driving insurance claim or lawsuit without an attorney to represent them – and doing so can hurt these claims. Hiring a distracted driving attorney can provide numerous benefits to your case, including reducing stress, increasing the potential settlement amount, and navigating tricky insurance negotiations.
- After your distracted driving accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may contact you or even visit you at the hospital. An insurance adjuster may try to get you to give a statement or agree to a settlement. However, it is not in the insurance company’s best interest to pay you a maximum settlement. Insurance companies tend to lowball clients without legal representation in these situations – and your distracted driving attorney can help. He or she will evaluate the settlement offer and negotiate for a higher payout on your behalf.
- The majority of distracted driving claims settle outside the courtroom. You will either engage with the defense attorney of the at-fault driver or the insurance company’s representatives. Navigating these negotiations can be difficult without a proper negotiation background. However, when you hire a distracted driving attorney, you hire a person who has the skills necessary to navigate these conversations. Your distracted driving attorney will represent you at the negotiating table so you can reduce your stress.
- Proving negligence in a distracted driving claim can be very difficult. You will need to prove that the other driver was engaging in distracted driving behavior at the time of the accident – a task that is challenging without the proper resources and network. When you hire a distracted driving attorney, he or she will have the resources necessary to launch a full-scale investigation into your claim. Your attorney will review security footage, interview witnesses, consult with experts, and perform any task necessary to craft a compelling case in your favor.
- When you suffer injuries in a distracted driving accident, you may have to spend weeks in the hospital and at home to recover. This recovery time can be painful and strenuous – and the last thing you need to worry about is court deadlines and filing paperwork. When you hire a distracted driving attorney to handle the legal processes of your claim for you, you can significantly reduce your stress and focus on your recovery.
- If you try to litigate your distracted driving case on your own, you may miss losses you could claim as damages. Your distracted driving attorney will know how to calculate all possible forms of damages to argue for maximum compensation on your behalf, from past and future medical expenses to emotional anguish and lost wages.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Many people associate texting or mobile phone use with distracted driving. While mobile device use accounts for a large portion of distracted driving incidents, other behaviors also fall under the category of distracted driving. Some of the most common types of distracted driving include eating while driving, reaching for an object in the vehicle, manipulating vehicle radios and navigation systems, and putting on makeup while driving.
When you travel at speeds of 50 mph or faster and take your eyes off the road for a matter of seconds, you can travel hundreds of feet. In that time, you could miss an obstacle in the road, veer into an oncoming traffic lane, or run a red light. Anything that takes your attention away from the task at hand increases the likelihood of an accident.
Texting While Driving Accidents
Texting is one of the most dangerous distractions behind the wheel for any driver of any age or experience level. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported more than 3,400 deaths in 2016 alone from distracted driving and texting while driving remains one of the leading causes of distracted driving deaths throughout the United States.
Texting behind the wheel is so dangerous because it encompasses the three main types of distractions into a single act.
- Manual distractions are things that require the driver to take his or her hands off the steering wheel or vehicle controls, such as typing a message on a cell phone.
- Visual distractions are things that divert a driver’s eyes away from the road, such as looking at a cell phone to read a text message.
- Cognitive distractions are things that divert a driver’s attention away from driving, such as thinking about a text conversation instead of driving.
Drivers should do their best to eliminate distractions behind the wheel, and this especially applies to cell phone use. It is best to connect a hands-free device to answer calls if necessary for work, but Texas law does allow drivers to talk on cell phones. Ultimately, it is best for drivers to keep their phones silent while driving and only use them when parked safely.
Texas Ban on Texting and Driving
As of September 1, 2017, texting while driving is completely illegal in Texas. Violations of the new texting and driving ban may only lead to small fines and misdemeanor charges for first-time offenders if they do not cause accidents. However, a driver convicted of texting and driving and causing a serious accident that causes injury or death to another person faces fines up to $4,000 and up to one year in prison.
In addition to criminal charges from the state for texting while driving violations, a driver who does cause an accident due to texting behind the wheel is liable for any civil damages resulting from such actions.
- A plaintiff who files a civil suit against a driver for an accident caused by texting while driving can claim his or her medical expenses as damages in the lawsuit. This includes both immediate and future medical costs for all injuries resulting from the accident.
- Plaintiffs can also claim compensation for their property damage, such as the repair bill for a damaged vehicle or the replacement cost for a destroyed vehicle.
- A plaintiff may qualify for lost income compensation if his or her injuries required missing work for an extended period. In the event a serious accident causes a severe injury that leads to a permanent disability and the victim can no longer work, testimony from an expert witness may help prove the extent of his or her lost earning capacity and lead to compensation for lost future wages.
- Plaintiffs in personal injury cases may receive compensation for their pain and suffering based on the jury’s assessment of the facts in the case and testimony from expert witnesses.
Your Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys in Fort Worth
Vehicle accident cases are time-sensitive. Evidence and memory of the incident fade quickly. Talk to a local distracted driving attorney at The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert as soon after your incident as possible to better understand your options for recovery. Without physical evidence of the distraction, we must often rely on police reports and witness accounts to prove a distraction contributed to the incident. Our attorneys know where to look to find evidence of distractions. We can help you hold careless and dangerous drivers accountable for their poor driving decisions.
If you were involved in a distracted driving accident in Fort Worth, reach out to us at (817) 500-4878 for a free consultation. We will work tirelessly to protect your right to compensation after injurious and deadly vehicle accidents.