Can You Hold a Texting Driver Liable for a Car Crash?

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Drinking and driving. Texting and driving. These dangerous pairings lead to distraction, negligence, and impaired decision-making behind the wheel. According to Public Health Law Research, over a quarter of all collisions are a result of mobile phone-related distractions; and, as of 2013, it is considered illegal to text and drive in the state of Florida.

Is Texting a Form of Careless or Reckless Driving?

While texting and driving is not automatic cause for a driver to be considered a careless or reckless driver, texting can lead to careless and reckless behaviors. Careless driving is a primary traffic offense and moving violation that can result in a traffic violation and a fine. Reckless driving is defined as driving that demonstrates a motorist’s knowing disregard for the safety of other persons and property, especially driving that could be reasonably expected to cause a fatal accident or critical physical injury. Texting and driving is an illegal act of negligence on the part of a motorist that does not necessitate but can contribute to a charge of careless or reckless driving.

Holding a Driver Responsible for Texting and Driving

Texting while driving is not only illegal; it is inarguably a form of distracted driving. If a driver is behaving in a manner that can be considered careless, reckless, or negligent, he or she can be found liable for any accidents resulting from their behavior. In order to hold a texting driver liable for a car crash you must be able to do the following:

  • Prove that the motorist had a duty to drive as a reasonable driver would have in the same situation.
  • Demonstrate that, by texting, the motorist did not drive in a manner that could be considered reasonable.
  • Show that the motorist’s texting was the direct cause of the accident. (You will likely need to obtain the driver’s phone records in order to prove that he or she was texting at the time of the accident.)
  • Prove damages or injuries resulting from the accident.

If all of these conditions are met, then there is a solid case for the argument that a texting driver was liable for a car accident or collision.

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