Smartphones have dramatically changed our society in many ways, and not always for the better. While we are more connected than ever before, our phones can also be dangerous distractions, especially when driving.
A Maryland Highway Safety Office report says that more than 53,000 distracted driving accidents occurred in Maryland during a recent five-year period. Many of these crashes are due to people texting while driving.
If you’ve been involved in a texting while driving accident in Maryland, contact Trollinger Law LLC as soon as possible. Our car accident attorneys know the physical, emotional, and financial toll a distracted driving crash can take on your life. We’ll help you pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Firm founder Matthew Trollinger is a Maryland native who’s spent more than 10 years fighting on behalf of injury victims in Charles County and the D.C. metro area. Let us get you started on the path to recovery and a stronger financial future. Call our office or visit our contact page for a free initial consultation.
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Why Texting And Driving Is So Dangerous
Smartphones are a leading cause of distracted driving accidents. Talking on the phone, checking emails, and texting are temptations that many drivers find hard to resist.
To understand why texting while driving is so dangerous, let’s look at the types of driving distractions and a few examples of each.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three broad categories of distractions, including:
- Visual distractions: As the name implies, visual distractions are things that take a driver’s eyes off the road. When drivers aren’t paying attention to their surroundings, they’re much more likely to crash. Examples of visual distractions include billboards, navigation devices, radio and climate controls, and loose items in the car, like purses or backpacks.
- Manual distractions: Anything that takes one or both of a driver’s hands off of the wheel is a manual distraction. Without both hands on the steering wheel, drivers have less control over the vehicle and are less likely to respond effectively to emergencies.
Some examples of manual distractions include eating, drinking, and applying makeup while driving, as these activities require at least one hand.
- Cognitive distractions: A cognitive distraction is any action that takes a driver’s mental focus away from driving. Inattention makes drivers slower to perceive and respond to sudden hazards. Talking to other people in the car or daydreaming are two examples of cognitive distractions.
Texting while driving is considered the most dangerous of all distracted driving activities. That’s because texting encompasses all three types of driver distractions. A driver who’s texting will be looking at their phone, using their hands to type messages, and focusing their minds on how to respond. It’s simply not possible to juggle all of those actions and stay safe on the road.
Types of Texting and Driving Accident Injuries
Texting while driving accidents can result in severe injuries. Some of the most common include:
- Soft-tissue injuries (e.g., strained or torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons)
- Broken bones
- Facial disfigurement
- Crushed or severed limbs
- Neck and back injuries (e.g., whiplash)
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injury/paralysis
- Head and facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Psychological injuries (e.g., PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, phobias)
Individuals who are hurt in distracted driving accidents have the right to hold the responsible driver accountable for their recklessness. An experienced texting while driving lawyer at Trollinger Law LLC will demand maximum compensation that accounts for the full extent of your losses.
Maryland Law on Texting While Driving
State officials have recognized that texting while driving is a significant safety concern. Maryland’s laws on distracted driving state that distracted driving is “any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving,” which includes texting behind the wheel.
Drivers cannot take their hands off the wheel to use a phone, no matter whether the car is moving or stopped at an intersection. Drivers can use hands-free devices to make calls, but only if they’re at least 18-years-old.
Maryland’s distracted driving laws can carry hefty penalties for offenders. Drivers who are caught talking on the phone or texting while driving can be fined and have points taken off their driver’s licenses.
If a texting while driving accident results in someone else’s severe injury or death, the driver who was distracted can face a fine of up to $5,000 and a three-year prison sentence. Accident victims may also be entitled to file a civil claim against the driver, which is where Trollinger Law LLC can help.
Liability for Crashes Caused by Texting Drivers
To recover compensation from the distracted driver following a texting while driving accident, you’ll need proof. Examples of evidence commonly used in texting while driving accident claims include:
- Phone records: If the driver was sending or reading a text message at the time of the crash, there would be a record of the message with their cellular service provider. While carriers are generally reluctant to hand over these records voluntarily, the records can often be obtained through a court order.
- Police crash reports: Drivers sometimes admit they were texting while driving when asked by police as part of an accident investigation. If that information is in the crash report, it can support your claim for compensation.
- Witness statements: It’s pretty easy to see if a driver is texting because you can tell they’re looking down or even holding their phone on the steering wheel as they type. Another driver, pedestrian, or nearby party may have noticed the texting driver and can testify to their behavior as part of a distracted driving claim.
- Traffic/surveillance cameras: Many intersections now have cameras that record vehicles passing through. This footage can be used to help show that a driver was texting in the moments before the crash. If there are no traffic cameras at the accident site, there may be a surveillance system on a nearby building or dashcam that recorded what happened.
It’s essential to have as much evidence as possible to support your claim for compensation because of Maryland’s harsh negligence laws. Maryland uses a contributory negligence standard for personal injury cases, which states that if an injured party contributed in any way to the crash that injured them, they could be prevented from recovering any compensation at all. With stakes this high, it’s wise to work with a tough texting while driving accident lawyer who can protect your interests.
What Do I Do If I Have Been Hurt in a Texting and Driving Accident?
Here’s what you should do if you’re hurt in a texting while driving crash:
- Take pictures of the crash scene and your injuries, as they can be crucial evidence when you make your claim for compensation.
- Get medical treatment right away and follow all of your doctor’s instructions.
- Don’t speak to the insurance company without consulting a texting while driving attorney first. Reach out to a lawyer quickly, as insurance companies set deadlines that may impact your ability to recover compensation.
- Start a diary to keep track of your daily pain levels and how your injuries prevent you from taking part in or enjoying daily activities.
- Keep all your medical records and bills, as well as any documents that show missed wages or other financial losses from the crash.
- Stay off social media and refrain from making any statements about the case to anyone except your lawyer.
Get Help from Our Texting While Driving Accident Attorney
Hit by a driver who was texting behind the wheel in Southern Maryland? Trollinger Law LLC can help you hold them accountable for their recklessness. Get a free initial consultation by calling our office, chatting with us live on our site, or filling out a contact form.