Houston Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
Filing a Distracted Driving Injury Claim in Texas
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,100 Americans died in 2019 due to distracted driving. That same year, Texas saw 377 fatalities resulting from distracted driving. While distracted driving accidents are on a downward trend in Texas, these numbers are still alarmingly high.
If you were hit by someone who was texting and driving or otherwise distracted behind the wheel, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your resulting medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. In Texas, you can file a claim for damages against the at-fault driver—and Payne Law Firm can help.
What Is Considered “Distracted” Driving?
Distracted driving refers to any activity that causes the operator of a motor vehicle to take his or her attention away from the task of driving. While we often think of texting or using a cell phone while driving as the primary type of distracted driving, there are actually numerous activities that are considered distracted driving.
There are four types of driving distractions:
- Manual Distractions: Manual distractions include any activities that cause the driver to remove one or both hands from the steering wheel.
- Visual Distractions: Visual distractions are those that cause the driver to take his or her eyes off the road for any length of time.
- Auditory Distractions: Auditory distractions include anything that causes the driver to be unable to properly hear driving-related sounds, such as ambulance sirens.
- Cognitive Distractions: Cognitive distractions are activities that cause the driver to take his or her mind off driving.
Most distracting activities fall under multiple categories. For example, texting while driving combines the manual distraction of holding a cell phone with the visual distraction of looking at the text message and the cognitive distraction of thinking about the contents of the message, not the road ahead. However, even a single type of driving distraction, such as daydreaming, can be extremely dangerous and, in the worst cases, deadly.
What Are the Most Common Distractions While Driving?
Some of the most common driving distractions include:
- Using a cell phone/texting
- Using a GPS/navigational system
- Adjusting temperature controls
- Changing the radio/music
- Eating or drinking
- Grooming/applying makeup
- Taking pictures/videos on a handheld device
- Talking to passengers
- Reaching for an item
- Having children/pets in the vehicle
- Looking at items along the roadway (billboards, signs, etc.)
- Rubbernecking (looking at any accident)
Operating a motor vehicle is a serious responsibility that requires the driver’s full attention at all times. Even a few seconds of inattention can lead to a serious accident, leaving others with catastrophic injuries, some of which may even be fatal.
If you were injured or if someone you love died because of a distracted driver’s careless or negligent actions, you deserve justice. At Payne Law Firm, our Houston distracted driving accident lawyers are ready to fight for you and the fair compensation you are owed. We are well-versed in the state’s distracted driving laws and know how to properly investigate accident claims to prove that the other driver was distracted when they caused the accident that left you injured.
Distracted Driving Laws in Texas
Distracted driving laws in Texas primarily focus on texting and driving, as well as handheld devices and cell phone use.
As of 2017, it is unlawful to engage in the following activities while driving in Texas:
- Sending, reading, or posting “electronic messages,” such as texts, emails, or social media posts
- Using a handheld device of any kind while driving in school crossing zones
- Using a handheld device of any kind during the first six months of having a learner’s permit
- Using a wireless communication device of any kind when under the age of 18
The law also prohibits school bus drivers from using cell phones/handheld devices when operating a school bus while children are present.
While the law essentially only prohibits texting, emailing, posting, and other forms of electronic communication, all types of distracted driving can be considered negligence. As such, you could have grounds for a case against an at-fault motorist who was distracted by something other than texting or using a cell phone when they caused the accident. Our attorneys know how to identify all types of driving distractions and can work to prove that this negligent conduct was the cause of your injuries and losses.
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While you are not required by law to hire an attorney to file a car accident claim in Texas, it is important that you discuss your case with an experienced legal professional, particularly if you believe the driver who caused the accident was distracted. Distracted driving cases can be very difficult to prove, and the insurance company is most likely going to dispute or deny your claim. They may even try to argue that you were distracted or otherwise at fault for the accident, thereby allowing them to undervalue your claim.
At Payne Law Firm, we know how to fight back against the insurance company’s efforts to devalue and deny your rightful claim. Our Houston distracted driving lawyers have extensive experience representing injured individuals against major insurance carriers and their defense teams, and we have successfully recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. We are here to answer your questions and handle the details of your case so that you can focus on healing.
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