When you drive any motor vehicle, you are controlling a machine that weighs multiple tons and travels at speeds faster than the human body was meant to endure. Therefore, it is vital for everyone who drives on public roads in Texas to keep their focus fully on driving for every second they spend behind the wheel. Unfortunately, far too many drivers in the Lone Star State choose to look at their phones instead of the road.
If you were recently hit by someone who decided to text behind the wheel, you may have grounds to demand compensation for all your injuries, losses, and setbacks. However, texting while driving car accidents in Austin can be tricky to build a strong civil claim around. Assistance from a skilled car crash attorney can be key to achieving the best possible case result.
Since 2017, texting while driving is a misdemeanor offense in the state of Texas. This means that police officers can pull someone over and ticket them solely because they saw that driver using their phone unlawfully. Additionally, someone found guilty of texting behind the wheel will have the offense added to their criminal record, rather than just having to pay a fine and potentially deal with some administrative sanctions like they would for a simple traffic violation.
More specifically, it is against the law for drivers to read, write, or send text messages while driving, or for a driver to hold a phone or any other electronic communications device in their hand for any reason other than calling for help in an emergency. Adult drivers can use their phones for certain functions in hands-free mode, but drivers under 18 years old, drivers inside school zones, and bus operators with children present are universally prohibited from using cell phones behind the wheel. Anyone in Austin who violates this texting while driving law and causes an accident as a direct result may be liable for ensuing losses.
Civil liability for texting while driving car crashes in Austin almost always revolves around demonstrating negligence. In short, everyone who drives on public roads has roughly the same “duty” to obey the law and stay focused on driving at all times, and anyone who “breaches” that duty and causes a crash resulting in injuries has met all the criteria for negligence and could be held accountable for their actions.
Importantly, while texting behind the wheel is a textbook example of a legally actionable breach of duty, it is not strictly necessary in every situation to prove that a driver caused a wreck because they were texting. For example, if someone on their phone swerves into another lane and sideswipes another car, the fact that they failed to stay in their lane would be just as much of a breach of duty as texting while driving. Either offense could entitle a plaintiff to file a civil claim, and a dedicated lawyer can help with choosing the right legal strategy for the situation.
Texting behind the wheel is irresponsible no matter where or how someone does it, and anyone who causes a wreck through this type of reckless behavior should be held accountable for the resulting harm. However, getting the money you deserve for the injuries you should never have sustained can be tricky without support from capable and driven legal representation.
After a texting while driving car accident in Austin, contacting legal counsel should be your top priority. Call today to get started on your case.