When a driver sends, receives, or writes a text message, they can become distracted and cause an accident. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, distracted driving accounted for 11,019 crashes and 43 car accident deaths in Pennsylvania in 2020 alone. Additionally, the United States Department of Transportation reported that distracted driving resulted in 3,142 deaths across the United States in 2020.
If you were harmed in a motor vehicle accident involving texting and driving in Pennsylvania, you should reach out to a skilled and experienced Pennsylvania texting and driving injury lawyer. Hyde Tebay Legal can evaluate your case and may be able to help you receive financial compensation for the texting and driving accident injuries.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving occurs when a driver’s attention diverts from the task of driving. According to the United States Department of Transportation, types of distracted driving include:
- Phone use, including texting
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the radio or GPS
Not all types of distracted driving are illegal on their own. However, if a distracted driver injures you, you may have a right to financial compensation.
Is Texting While Driving Illegal In Pennsylvania?
Texting while driving is illegal in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania law defines texting and driving as using a wireless communications device such as a phone to send, read, or write a text. A driver who texts while driving can face a $50 fine.
Pennsylvania’s texting while driving law excludes hands-free systems in some cars, which drivers can use to communicate while driving. For example, the law excludes Bluetooth systems that allow drivers to make calls. However, any type of distracted driving can cause an accident and could entitle you to monetary compensation for the harm you suffered because of the accident.
If a texting driver causes a person’s death, they can be convicted of a felony in Pennsylvania. Additionally, texting and driving may be considered reckless or negligent driving.
Can You Sue A Driver Who Was Texting While Driving In Pennsylvania?
If you were involved in an accident in which the driver was texting and driving, you may be able to sue the driver for negligence. Negligence is a common tort action, in other words, a civil wrong. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may prosecute the driver in criminal court, but you would need to sue the driver in civil court to recover monetary damages. Courts deem an individual negligent when their actions fail to uphold a reasonable standard of care. For a court to find that the driver was negligent, you would need to show:
- First, the driver had a duty of care to drive reasonably and safely
- The driver breached this duty of care when they engaged in distracted driving by texting
- The driver’s texting caused the accident
- You suffered real harm as a result of the accident.
In this type of case, if the driver was texting while driving, they likely failed to act reasonably and failed to uphold the duty of care they owed you. Knowledgeable personal injury lawyers may help you bring your case to court so that you can get monetary compensation for your serious injuries.
How Can You Demonstrate That The Driver Was Texting?
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you show the court that the driver was texting. Types of materials used to make the case that the other driver was texting include:
- Phone records
- Police reports
- Camera footage
- Accounts from crash witnesses.
Does Your Insurance Impact Your Ability To Sue A Texting Driver In Pennsylvania?
It’s important to note that what kind of insurance you have may also play a role in your ability to sue the driver in Pennsylvania. If you have full tort insurance, you may sue the person who was texting while driving for all medical and out-of-pocket expenses and damages for pain and suffering and nonmonetary damages. If you have limited tort insurance, you may sue for all medical and out-of-pocket costs. Yet, with limited tort insurance, you may only recover damages for pain and suffering or nonmonetary damages if the accident seriously injured you.
What Kinds Of Compensation Could You Receive From Distracted Drivers In Pennsylvania?
If you were harmed in a texting and driving accident in Pennsylvania, a Pennsylvania court might award you financial compensation for the harm you suffered. The harm can be both economic and non-economic.
Economic harms include medical fees and lost wages. If you were injured in the accident, you may be left with medical expenses, and your injuries could prevent you from returning to work, causing economic hardship.
Non-economic harms include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disability. If the accident left you with non-economic harms, a Pennsylvania court may order the driver to compensate you for them.
Should You Accept A Settlement Offer From The Driver’s Insurance Company?
You should consult a skilled Pennsylvania personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement offer from the driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies are motivated to offer less compensation than what you may be entitled to by law. Insurance companies want to make money. The driver’s insurance company does not represent you and may not act in your best interest. An expert personal injury lawyer may be able to assess your case and help you get the best compensation for any economic and non-economic harms you suffered because of the texting while driving accident.
How Long After The Accident Do You Have To File A Case In Pennsylvania?
There is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Pennsylvania. This means that you only have two years after the distracted driving accident to sue the driver who was texting. If you were involved in a texting while driving accident, it’s essential to reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer before the time limit expires.
Pennsylvania Texting And Driving Accident Lawyers
Texting while driving is dangerous as evidenced by the amount of distracted driving accidents in this country. The United States Department of Transportation reports that when a driver texts, they take their eyes off the road for about five seconds—passing over the length of a football field without paying attention to the road, other cars, and potential hazards. Thus, texting while driving can lead to accidents.
If you were involved in a texting while driving accident, an experienced accident lawyer at Hyde Tebay Legal may be able to help you recover money for the accident. You should consult with an experienced Hyde Tebay Legal personal injury attorney for more information. Call (484) 886-4271 to request a free consultation or contact the skilled distracted driving attorneys at Hyde Tebay Legal here.