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One of the biggest distractions of our time is cell phones. However, texting while driving causes many accidents each year across Virginia. Many may not understand the danger of distracted driving.

However, the consequences of texting while driving can be catastrophic.

If you suffered an injury in a car accident due to a driver texting and driving, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to begin your road to recovery. 

What is Texting and Driving?

Texting and driving is often the most common cause of distracted driving. It refers to composing, reading, or sending text messages or emails or engaging in similar web-based activities on a mobile device while driving.

This behavior can range from a quick glance to check notifications to lengthy conversations or even social media browsing. Even looking away from the road for a second or two is enough to cause a catastrophic collision. 

In today’s digital age, many individuals find it challenging to disconnect, even when behind the wheel.

Younger drivers are even more dependent on their phones, accounting for some of the highest rates of accidents involving cell phone use. 

Texting while driving is not merely limited to traditional text messages; it is often used as the catch-all for any phone-related distractions.

What makes this activity particularly dangerous is the multi-faceted distraction it poses. Texting and driving distracts the driver visually, manually, and cognitively, which can lead to accidents. 

What Are the Texting and Driving Laws in Virginia? 

The Virginia texting and driving law provides that it is illegal to operate any motor vehicle while using any handheld communication device to communicate or read an email or text message sent to you.

However, the law does not prohibit most individuals from using a mounted handheld device to speak via Bluetooth and to use for navigation.

However, the texting and driving law imposes different restrictions for different age groups. For example: 

  • All drivers are banned from texting while driving;
  • Drivers under the age of 18 and bus drivers are prohibited from any cell phone usage while driving; and 
  • Drivers over the age of 18 may use their phones while driving as long as they are not sending or receiving text messages. 

Fines exist for violating the Virginia texting and driving laws. However, the bigger danger lies in the potential harm to others caused by distracted driving. 

What Are the Dangers of Texting and Driving? 

Texting while driving causes multiple accidents per year. The three categories of distracted driving caused by texting and driving include the following:

  • Visual. Looking down at a phone and off the road and surroundings may cause potentially catastrophic consequences in mere seconds. When a person takes their eyes off the road for only five seconds when going 55 miles per hour, the individual may drive the length of a football field. 
  • Manual. If someone takes their hands off their steering wheel to send or receive a text message, this impairs their ability to control the vehicle. They may be unprepared to handle a sharp turn, sudden brake, or other vehicles. 
  • Cognitive. A distraction from a text message not only physically takes attention away from driving but also mentally takes away attention. Cognitive distractions reduce one’s ability to react to changes in the road or other driver behaviors.

Texting and driving accidents occur every day.

If you’ve suffered injuries and property damage due to distracted driving, contact an experienced texting and driving accident attorney to assess your rights. 

What to Do After Texting and Driving Accidents

Immediately following an accident involving distracted driving, there are multiple steps to take to protect your rights. These steps include the following:

  • Seek medical attention; 
  • File a police report;
  • Take photos of the accident scene; 
  • Obtain the name, contact information, and insurance information of the other parties involved in the accident;
  • Obtain the names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident; and 
  • Contact a personal injury attorney. 

If the other driver was texting while driving and caused your accident, consult with a personal injury attorney and review your legal options.

A personal injury attorney assists in filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit to recover your damages.

Texting and Driving Accident Compensation

After a texting and driving accident, victims may face physical, emotional, and financial burdens.

If you can prove 100% liability against the responsible party, you could be entitled to receive compensation. 

It’s crucial to remember that every case is unique, and the types and amounts of compensation vary based on the specifics of the accident, the severity of the injuries, and other factors.

Here are the types of compensation typically available in a car accident claim. 

Medical Expenses

Medical costs are often the most immediate concern for victims.

Compensation can cover past and future medical bills, including hospital stays, surgeries, doctor visits, medication, rehabilitation, and other necessary treatments or procedures.

Lost Wages and Earning Capacity

If the accident led to missed work days, you can seek compensation for the income lost.

Additionally, if the injuries inhibit your ability to work in the future or reduce your earning potential, you can seek compensation for future losses. 

Property Damage

Accidents can result in significant damage to your vehicle or other personal property.

You can seek reimbursement for repair costs or, if it’s a total loss, the car’s market value before the accident.

Pain and Suffering

Beyond the tangible losses are the intangible ones—physical pain and emotional suffering.

This compensation acknowledges the trauma, distress, and discomfort you endured, both short-term and long-term.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

If the injuries from the accident prevent you from enjoying activities and hobbies you once loved, or if your overall quality of life is diminished, you might be entitled to compensation for this loss.

Filing a Texting and Driving Accident Lawsuit in Virginia

Before you file a lawsuit with the court, it’s essential to have a structured legal strategy. The first step is consulting with a River Run Law personal injury attorney.

We are experienced in texting and driving cases. We will review the specifics of your case, advise on its viability, and guide you on the best course of action.

If you proceed, your attorney will conduct an independent investigation and gather evidence.

Documentation may include accident reports, witness testimonies, phone records, medical records, and any other pertinent documentation that can establish the other driver’s negligence due to texting while driving. The sooner you contact us, the better we can protect your rights.

When it’s time to file a lawsuit, your attorney will draft and file a complaint in a Virginia court.

This legal document outlines your claims and the facts supporting those claims and makes a request for relief, usually in the form of monetary compensation. 

Once you serve the defendants with your lawsuit, they are required to file an answer. When the answer is filed, the case enters the discovery phase.

During the discovery phase, both sides exchange information and evidence in the form of interrogatories and requests for documents.

This can include requests for depositions, where parties are required to answer a series of questions under oath.

Depending on the facts of the case, settlement negotiations will be ongoing through the discovery phase. 

Filing a lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean your case will go to trial. However, your case might proceed to trial if you cannot reach a settlement. 

Important Considerations in a Texting and Driving Case

Virginia is a contributory negligence state. That’s important to know because it can affect your case and your ability to collect any compensation.

Contributory negligence laws state that you won’t receive any money if you’re even one percent at fault, so it’s important to have an attorney to help you prove the other party’s fault.

Also, it is important to know about Virginia’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which is two years from the accident date.

That means you have a two-year window to file a lawsuit. Though you can still file a lawsuit outside of that two-year window, a judge will likely dismiss the case if you do. 

Contact an Experienced Texting and Driving Accident Lawyer

Those involved in texting and driving accidents should not get away with harming others as a result of their unlawful choices.

People are injured every year due to distracted driving.

When you hire an experienced texting and driving accident lawyer from River Run Law, you hire an aggressive and passionate advocate working to protect your rights.

If you suffer injury in an accident caused by texting while driving, we can assist in analyzing your case and work to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Contact the attorneys at River Run Law today for a free consultation to review your legal options with our team! 

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Brooke Alexander

Brooke graduated from the University of Richmond School of Law after receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Brooke worked for five years in private practice with a law firm specializing in insurance defense litigation before becoming the trial litigator for Allstate Insurance Company in the metro Richmond area.