After an accident with a texting driver, there are several things you should do to promote your health and legal options. You should report the incident to law enforcement, seek medical attention, and consider working with an attorney.
If you ever don’t know about your next steps following a collision, consult a car accident lawyer. They can assess your situation, weigh your options, and explain what you can do.
Call the Police
Many states require you to notify law enforcement if anyone suffers injuries in a traffic accident. At the accident scene, the police will document what both drivers remember, what witnesses saw, and attempt to piece together the events of the collision.
Request the officer’s badge number, name, and contact information so you can get in touch later to ask questions. When speaking to police, be honest about what you saw and recall. Avoid speculating about who caused the collision, as this could reflect poorly on your character. You also don’t want to provide the police with misleading information, even if it’s unintentional. So, you should do your best to offer objective information.
Get Medical Help for Your Car Accident Injuries
If you’re still at the accident scene, get medical attention from the paramedics. The sooner you seek treatment, the better. For instance, some conditions worsen without stabilization. You want to do everything possible to prevent a serious, underlying condition from affecting your life.
Conditions you may suffer in a collision include:
- Whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord trauma
- Internal bleeding
- Lacerations and contusions
- Nerve damage
- Organ damage
You shouldn’t ignore your mental health after a collision, either. If you feel symptoms of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you should consult a professional. Any information you get while undergoing treatment can bolster your potential injury claim.
You Should Also Adhere to Your Prescribed Treatment Plan
Following any emergency care, you should continue to monitor your condition and attend any follow-up appointments with your physician.
You should also:
- Go to physical therapy as recommended
- Take medications as prescribed
- Limit your physical activity
- Keep all documentation related to your diagnosis
Later on, if you file a personal injury claim, doing these things can prevent the other party from disputing your case. When seeking damages, you want to show that you suffered injuries from the collision and did everything possible to mitigate your symptoms.
Document Your Injuries and Vehicle’s Damage
If possible, take photos of:
- The accident scene. Capture the damage to your car and the positioning of both vehicles from a variety of angles. You want your photos to tell the story of the crash and how severe it was. Additionally, make sure your photos also show the street where the accident occurred and nearby features that identify the crash’s location.
- Your injuries. Photograph any injuries you sustained, even if you think they are minor. For instance, what may initially look like a small bruise could actually indicate internal bleeding. You should document the development of your injuries to capture the extent of the damage.
The more information you have to support your injury case, the more willing the insurer could be to settle.
Talk to Eyewitnesses at the Scene
If you were in an accident with a texting driver, it is likely that others who witnessed the accident also saw the driver using their phone. If possible, speak with eyewitnesses to determine what they saw and what they believe caused the accident.
You might ask if anyone saw the driver texting on their phone. The driver’s specific phone usage makes a huge difference to your case, especially in places like Georgia, where there are hands-free laws banning drivers from texting behind the wheel.
You can also question whether the witnesses heard anything before or after the accident that might prove useful. Be sure to request the witness’s name and contact information. You can pass this information along to your car accident lawyer later on when you begin working on your injury claim.
Save All Your Accident-Related Documents
After a car accident, it’s imperative that you save any related documentation and key information.
You should keep:
- Communications from your employer regarding missed time from work
- Any receipts, invoices, or bills spent on injury-related losses
- Any information you get from the involved insurance company
- The dates of any medical appointments
- Your medical records and treatment-related information
This information can support your fight for damages. With the information you find, you want to show the insurer that because another party caused your collision, you suffered injuries, have damages, and want compensation. The items above could help you build a compelling case.
If you can’t get these items on your own, no problem. If you hire a car accident lawyer, they can investigate your accident and gather the information needed to secure a fair outcome. They may also consult with field experts (such as accident reconstruction specialists) to glean further insight into your collision.
Get a Copy of the Crash Report
Your crash report is an integral part of your claim, especially if the other driver broke the law. This document serves as proof of the other party’s negligence. In the accident report, police will note the crash’s details and any claims that the driver used a mobile device.
The report should also include other key details, such as:
- The location of the crash
- Who was involved
- A diagram of the collision scene
- Details about the car, like its build, color, and model
- Names of drivers and passengers
- Witness statements
- Notes on your injuries
- The officer’s opinions regarding the crash
Importantly, the police report may also contain notes on any citations distributed to drivers and passengers. If the other driver got a ticket for texting or distracted driving, the report should include it.
Sometimes, an officer will have the report ready at the scene, but if the crash includes complicated details, such as traffic violations or extensive damage, it may not be available until a later date. Most crash reports are ready within 10 business days of the accident. You could purchase it online through the police department or public records. Alternatively, you could visit your local police station and request information there.
Refrain From Giving a Recorded Statement
The insurance company may ask you for a recorded statement in the immediate aftermath of your texting and driving accident. It hopes to take advantage of your post-collision vulnerability and ask loaded questions. Anything you share, even an innocuous, “I feel fine,” could discredit your case.
You have these options if the insurance company asks for an on-the-record statement:
- Refuse to comment. The claims adjuster may lie and say that a recorded statement is essential to your claim’s approval. That’s not true. Aside from supplying basic information, you don’t have to submit to questioning from the insurer upon request.
- Refer the insurer to your lawyer. When you partner with a personal injury attorney, you don’t have to communicate with the insurance company directly. You can refer all communications to your legal team. Your lawyer can furnish the necessary information and manage your claim accordingly.
Limit Your Social Media Posts
While the exact laws between states vary, most consider social media posts to be public record. This means that anything you share online could discredit your case. For instance, imagine that you claim to have a spinal cord injury but post a photo of yourself at a party.
If the claims adjuster sees this, they could dispute your case—even if you were just putting on a brave face for the photo. During your case’s progression, be extremely mindful of what you post online. Your case’s outcome could depend on it.
Think Twice About Accepting That First Settlement Offer
The liable insurance company may offer a settlement immediately after your collision. Yet, this offer might not account for the full scope of your losses, such as pain and suffering. By accepting an insurance offer, your case ends. You cannot ask for more money, even if your condition takes a turn for the worse.
When you partner with an attorney, they can evaluate any settlement offers and explain whether one meets your needs. If not, they can continue negotiating or file a lawsuit against the negligent party.
Consider Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer for Help
You should consider consulting a car accident lawyer after a collision with a texting driver. You may believe that your case is clear-cut just because you saw the other driver texting prior to the crash. Yet, your testimony alone won’t yield financial recovery.
You need proper evidence to support your claim. Your attorney facilitates the investigation process and gathers evidence from multiple sources that you may have difficulty accessing. Further, your accident lawyer protects your rights through their knowledge of the law. They can also:
Explain Your Options During a Free Case Review
Many law firms offer free case reviews where injured claimants can learn more about their options. During your no-obligation consultation with a legal team, you can explore your rights and next steps moving forward. They may also offer insight into what you should do after an accident with a texting driver.
Protect You From the Insurance Company
The liable insurer may deny liability for your losses. It may claim that the other driver didn’t act negligently or assert that you caused the collision.
Without definitive evidence, the insurer has no reason to pay compensation. Your personal injury attorney can show evidence to the insurer, proving its liability and the cost of your damages.
With an attorney representing your texting and driving case, you will not have to deal with the insurer directly. The car accident lawyer on your case can handle all communications, protecting you from any pitfalls that could jeopardize your claim.
Evaluate Your Damages’ Cost
You can’t negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer if you don’t understand your damages’ value. That’s where your lawyer comes in. They can use your injury-related documentation (such as receipts) to validate what you’re owed. They can also consult with field experts, such as economists, to glean further insight into a possible settlement offer.
File Your Lawsuit Within the Statutory Deadline
All states set deadlines on civil cases. These deadlines outline how long you have to file a car accident lawsuit. Some deadlines offer a few months to act, while others grant years. It’s vital that you understand your state’s statute of limitations and file your case within that timeframe.
Failing to do so could make you ineligible to recover damages. That’s because the civil court system refuses to hear cases filed too late. A lawyer can analyze your case, gather evidence, and file it before any deadlines expire.
You Can Seek Damages Even if the Other Party Faces Criminal Charges
If the at-fault motorist broke the law by texting and driving, they could face criminal charges. Any manual use of a cell phone during the operation of a motor vehicle is outlawed in many states.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), most states ban the handheld use of mobile phones for all drivers. Further, even states that haven’t banned drivers from using handheld cell phones prohibit drivers from sending text messages. There are 48 states with a ban on text messaging for all drivers.
Still, breaking the law doesn’t shield a motorist from liability if they cause a collision. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Your lawyer could use the other driver’s arrest records to prove your accident’s cause and your right to damages. The case you have against the driver would operate independently from the state’s criminal case against them.
Did You Get Into an Accident With a Texting Driver? You Have Options.
If you suffered injuries and losses in a collision, you can call an accident injury lawyer for help. Many can take your case without charging you any upfront or out-of-pocket fees. You’ll only pay if they recover compensation from the liable party. As mentioned, time is limited when it comes to pursuing damages. So, you should consider your options sooner rather than later.