After an accident with a texting driver, you should get medical care, start collecting documentation, and learn about your options for seeking compensation. You can also ask for help doctors, eyewitnesses, and car accident attorneys can help you navigate the next steps after a distracted driving accident in Atlanta, GA.
Seek Medical Attention After an Accident With a Texting Driver
The first thing to do after any accident is to receive medical care. Above all else, your health and well-being are the priority following a collision.
Getting medical care can also help protect your future well-being. A texting driver may immediately try to downplay the damage they caused. Likewise, insurance adjusters may question injury claims that aren’t reported right away. Creating records of an injury is the first step toward building a case for compensation.
Establish Your Injuries in Writing
In both claims and lawsuits, what tips the scales is often what is in writing. Keep track of any documentation related to injuries or pain.
Medical records that could prove useful are:
- X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and other diagnostic testing results
- Doctor’s assessments, diagnoses, and treatment plans
- Records of surgeries or other forms of medical intervention
- Prescriptions for medication, equipment, or therapy
- Physical therapy, chiropractic, or rehabilitation evaluations
- Records of visits to doctors, specialists, and healthcare professionals
- Psychological evaluations and diagnoses from mental health experts
- Receipts for any expenses paid out of pocket
Armed with this documentation, you are in a better position to dispute attempts to delegitimize your pain or injuries.
On top of that, this evidence can help build a timeline of the accident’s aftermath. Paperwork, scans, and visit histories show how long you suffered, how that suffering interfered with your life, and how far until you reach maximum medical improvement.
Your Pain Tells a Story
Your injuries themselves can provide insight into the crash. For instance, medical experts can establish that your injuries are consistent with a certain type of accident.
For example, maybe a texting driver did not see you hit the brakes and failed to slow down when they hit you. You suffered whiplash, among other injuries. Your doctor, chiropractor, or another healthcare professional can determine how the severity of your whiplash ties in with the collision you suffered.
Medical professionals understand how collisions cause injury to the human body. Your body can tell a story about what forces were at play when that texting driver hit you.
Doctors Can Provide Expert Testimony
Furthermore, seeking prompt medical attention can provide expert testimony to bolster your case. Healthcare professionals can attest to your account of the accident, providing testimony for an insurance claim or even testifying in court.
This testimony can help texting while driving case by:
- Translating medical terms into layman’s terms
- Demonstrating how the crash caused your injuries
- Explaining diagnostic imaging and what it shows
- Describing the types of injuries you suffered
- Discussing the ramifications of your injuries
- Advocating for the type of care you will need
- Providing proof of psychological pain
For example, spinal cord injuries affect everyone differently. Mayo Clinic explains that some victims have complete injuries versus incomplete injuries. And some suffer from tetraplegia, while others suffer from paraplegia. A neurologist can explain the type of spinal cord injury you suffered and how it affects your sensory and motor function.
Additionally, expert testimony is a way to prove pain. An insurance adjuster, judge, or jury can’t feel what you feel, but your care providers can offer insight into your experience, presented from a place of authority.
Medical Records Inform Damages
Your medical records and doctor's testimony can support the damages you seek, including costs for:
Collect Evidence of Texting While Driving After an Accident
Linking the accident to your injuries is an important part of texting while driving case, but that is meaningless if you can’t prove that the driver caused the accident. Once your condition has stabilized, you could turn your attention toward gathering evidence of the accident.
Proof of Texting
Your attorney can conduct their own investigation into the cause of the collision.
Supporting information they may find include:
- Phone data, text messages, and social media posts
- Traffic and security camera footage
- Police report and citations for texting while driving
- Reconstruction of the accident by experts
The driver’s phone company can provide data, while your legal team can sift through the driver’s social media posts. Time and location stamps can show that a driver used their phone at the time of the crash, connecting their distraction to your injuries.
A police report can provide useful data about the angle of impact, witness contact information, and any citations against a driver for violating a traffic law. Traffic cameras can show other angles of the crash and may even reveal photographic evidence of a driver not paying attention to the road.
Talk to Eyewitnesses
Those who saw the crash may have seen the driver texting. Even if they didn’t, their account can help fill in the blanks, providing context to allow your lawyer and accident experts to reconstruct the crash step-by-step.
Eyewitnesses can provide useful information in the form of:
- Verbal or written testimony
Other Useful Evidence in a Texting While Driving Accident Case
In addition to proving that the other driver was texting, you could evaluate other forms of negligence.
For example, maybe the driver in your case:
- Followed you too closely
- Exceeded the speed limit
- Failed to yield
- Ran through a light or stop sign
- Failed to signal
A driver who focuses on their phone for only five seconds could travel the length of a football field when driving at 55 miles per hour, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If that driver followed too closely, and you hit the brakes, those five seconds of distraction could have caused a rear-end collision.
Evidence Could Show Poor Roadway Conditions Caused a Collision
The circumstances at the time of the crash also factor into the case. For instance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that road surfaces and weather conditions affect braking distance. A distracted driver might not pay enough attention to conditions, speed, or work signs.
If poor roadway maintenance caused or contributed to the collision, you could hold the negligent driver and the overseeing government agency responsible. This could offer more than one mode of seeking compensation.
Understand Your Paths to Compensation After a Texting Accident
One of the most important actions you can take after a distracted driving accident is to educate yourself about the process of pursuing compensation. To recover damages, you can:
File an Insurance Claim
Depending on your state, after an accident, you can file an insurance claim with either your own insurer or the other driver’s. You can receive some benefits through a settlement to help pay for medical bills, lost income, and other losses.
When dealing with the claims process, know your rights.
- Decline to provide a recorded statement to the insurer
- Only offer basic details about the accident to an adjuster
- Take time to consider any settlement offers
- Negotiate for better terms after a lowball offer
- Talk to a lawyer before agreeing to anything
- Dispute a claim settlement offer or denial you feel is unfair
- File a lawsuit at any time before the statute of limitations
Part of knowing what to do after a car accident with a texting driver is knowing what power you have. Adjusters and liable parties might try to prey on your ignorance to get you to agree to less compensation. To protect yourself, ask questions, stand up for yourself, and take your time.
File a Lawsuit
Sometimes, the insurance process isn’t the only path to compensation.
You can file a lawsuit for texting while driving accident if:
- The other driver was underinsured or uninsured.
- The driver disputes that they drove while distracted or acted negligently.
- All parties have differing accounts and can’t agree.
- The insurance company denied or undervalued your claim without grounds.
- You suffered serious injuries in the accident.
If you suffered injuries because of another party’s negligence, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. If your loved one lost their life in a fatal texting accident, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit in their stead.
Don’t Confuse Criminal and Civil Cases
In many states, texting while driving is a crime, usually punished by a fine. However, if the driver in your case receives a citation by the police, that doesn’t mean you automatically receive damages. Although the ticket is useful as evidence of negligence, you still need to file a car insurance claim or lawsuit to receive compensation.
Alternatively, even if the driver didn’t get a ticket for using their phone while driving, you could still have a civil case. Lawsuits are separate from the police’s actions. You can discuss filing a civil action with a lawyer to learn more.
Learn Your State’s Laws
Each state has a different statute of limitations.
In fact, the timeline of your case could vary based on:
- If you suffered serious injuries
- If you lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence
- If the crash involved a minor
- If you were incapacitated
- If the other driver fled the scene or is missing
- If your state has a serious injury threshold
You could miss your chance to seek financial recovery if you miss a deadline. Thankfully, you can talk to a lawyer about the statute of limitations in your case, as well as any other local laws that could affect a lawsuit.
You Can Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer and Learn More
Consulting a lawyer is always an option after a distracted driving accident. Some people assume only catastrophic injuries or intense liability battles deserve a lawyer’s attention, but an attorney can assist with other aspects of your case.
In fact, a texting-while-driving accident attorney can help you with any of the above tasks, from setting up medical appointments to collecting evidence.
In addition, you can talk to a lawyer about:
- What losses your case can recover
- The dos and don’ts of talking to an insurance adjuster (generally, don’t do it)
- Whether a settlement offer is appropriate
- How to recognize tricks that could lower your compensation
- Who to hold accountable for texting while driving case
- Whether more than one party was involved in your accident
You may talk to more than one lawyer to find the right fit for you. You can ask questions about their firm’s track record and case results, whether they have experience with distracted driving cases, how they would approach your case, and what they would charge. You are always allowed to ask questions.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Your case’s filing deadline depends on many factors, but it usually depends on where you live. For instance, if you live in Georgia, you could have two years to sue the at-fault driver. Abiding by the statute of limitations (and other case-related deadlines) protects your right to seek damages. Putting off your case’s filing for too long could jeopardize its outcome.
What You Can Do After an Accident With a Texting Driver
Ultimately, what you can do in this situation is take steps to protect yourself. That includes protecting your health, protecting evidence, and protecting your possible compensation. To start, do your research, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help from experts and personal injury lawyer in Atlanta.