Any driver with a smartphone knows how tempting it is to grab the device when it goes “ping.” It only takes a second to look down to read the text message that came through and to send a response. Unfortunately, that brief second can cost drivers their lives.
Drivers and passengers can suffer severe injuries in car crashes involving distracted driving, especially if the collision occurs at a high rate of speed. Brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and even death are all common.
If you or your loved one suffered serious or fatal injuries because another driver was texting behind the wheel, the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, car repairs, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call us now at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free case evaluation with a texting while driving accident lawyer in Knoxville.
Tennessee Prohibits Texting and Driving.
Concerned over the dangers of distracted driving, Tennessee lawmakers banned all motorists from reading or sending text messages on hand-held mobile telephones or PDAs. Motorists in violation of this state statute face a $50 fine and $10 court costs. In addition to the fines, first-time violators must attend and complete a driver education course.
Similarly, drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate driver license cannot use any type of mobile or car phone while driving. Any drivers caught using a phone face a $50 fine and a 90-day delay in eligibility for receiving an intermediate restricted or intermediate unrestricted driver license.
Despite these consequences, Tennessee drivers still use their phones while driving. According to a 2015 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, of the 448 mobile phone-related traffic fatalities that occurred nationwide, 84 occurred in Tennessee.
If we can prove the other driver in your crash was texting prior to the accident, we can hold them responsible for your damages.
How Can I Prove the Other Driver Was Texting When the Accident Occurred?
Our legal team has resources to investigate your accident. Part of our probe includes identifying who caused the accident and how the crash occurred.
As part of our investigation, we will obtain the police report of your crash. Generally, the police report identifies the at-fault party and notes whether a phone or other electronic device was in use at the time of the accident. If a responding officer cited the other driver for texting while driving, we can use that information to strengthen your claim for compensation.
If you or someone else took photos of the wreckage, these images may show the position of mobile phones inside of the vehicles. Similarly, video surveillance footage may provide insights into the actions of the at-fault driver leading up to the wreck.
We do not solely rely on the police report or photographs, however. We also obtain statements from eyewitnesses to the accident. If necessary, we can subpoena the driver’s phone records to prove they were texting around the time that the accident occurred. Using the evidence we collect, we can make a persuasive argument that you deserve compensation for your accident-related losses.
What We Do With Evidence We Collect
We collect evidence to prove negligence on the part of the at-fault party. Under Tennessee’s negligence law, all drivers have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care to drive safely. If we can prove another driver violated that duty of care as we pursue your personal injury claim, we can hold them responsible for your damages. To prove that is what occurred, we must offer evidence showing the four elements of negligence were present in your case:
- The driver had a duty to drive carefully;
- The driver breached that duty;
- The driver’s negligence caused an accident; and
- You suffered damages.
In your case, the motorist had a duty to drive carefully, but the negligent actions of texting and driving caused an accident in which you suffered damages. To prevail in an insurance claim, we must connect the at-fault party’s negligent actions to the accident that caused your injury.
In addition to building a strong claim, we can help you file the claim with the defendant’s insurance company. We also use our negotiation skills to settle the claim with the insurance company on your behalf. If the insurance company offers a low payout or rejects a valid claim, we may recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover full and fair compensation for your damages.
What Types of Damages Can I Pursue?
The compensation amount you can pursue depends on several factors, including the severity of your injuries. If you suffer permanent or disfiguring injuries, the value of your claim will likely be higher. For the most part, you may pursue compensation for such expenses as:
- Medical bills;
- Ambulance transportation;
- Loss of current and future income;
- Physical therapy;
- Home health care;
- Prescription medications;
- Assistive medical devices like canes, wheelchairs, and crutches; and
- Funeral expenses, if a loved one died in the accident.
Tennessee also allows you to seek compensation for non-monetary losses that have disrupted your life. The most common non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and mental anguish.
In certain cases, the court may award punitive damages to punish a defendant’s egregious behavior and discourage others from acting the same way in the future. Before awarding punitive damages, the court must find evidence that the defendant engaged in malicious, intentional, fraudulent, or reckless conduct that caused injury to others. Tennessee caps punitive damages at two times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, depending on which number is highest.
Contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, Today at 865-546-1111 for Help With Your Claim.
If you were in an accident involving texting while driving, you can rely on the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, to help you fight for your right to compensation. Call us now at 865-546-1111 for a complimentary legal consultation with a texting while driving accident lawyer in Knoxville.