If you are injured in a car accident, determining what caused the accident is a key element in making a claim for compensation for your injuries. Examining the surrounding circumstances, including whether the other driver was talking on his/her cell phone or sending text messages while driving could add significant value to your case.
Texting and driving is prohibited under Georgia law and can be subject to criminal prosecution. For a civil case, violating the criminal offense and pleading guilty to a ticket for texting and driving could constitute an admission of negligence. If you are injured by a negligent driver who was texting on his or her cell phone, then ascertaining whether the driver was texting could establish liability or even be grounds for seeking punitive damages (although texting and driving alone is not grounds for obtaining punitive damages, showing that the at-fault driver habitually texted while driving–a practice that is dangerous and shows wanton disregard for the safety of others– could possibly establish punitive damages.
An investigation that includes speaking to eye witnesses, obtaining the police report, finding out the disposition of any citations, obtaining videos, obtaining 911 calls, and obtaining cell phone records are important to establishing that the other driver was texting at the time of the collision. Such information could be powerful in establishing liability and damages when making a claim for bodily injury arising from a car accident.
Just as in any car accident in Georgia, whether it involves texting and driving or not, a claimant seeking compensation for bodily injury must show negligence, causation, and damages. Victims of such car accidents should seek medical attention immediately in order to establish both causation and damages. Typically, a gap in time between the collision and medical treatment is used as a defense for causation by insurance companies who do not want to pay reasonable and fair compensation. Thus, if you are injured in a car accident, you should get medical treatment immediately.
The value of you injury case or the “damages” rests, in part, on the medical bills that you incur as a result of the automobile collision. Other factors include the severity of your injury, the egregiousness of the at-fault driver’s actions, whether you have lost wages, the amount of insurance coverage available, the type of medical treatment you had, and whether you have past similar injuries or accidents.
While texting and driving alone is not sufficient to establish liability or damages, it could be a factor in both, depending on the circumstances. Georgia case law has revealed that texting and driving by itself does not open the door for punitive damages; however, showing a pattern of such behavior could be a good argument for punitive damages. As for liability, showing that the other driver was texting and driving would at least establish that he or she was violating the law and was distracted at the time of the collision.
If you were injured in a car accident in Georgia, The Davis Injury Firm can walk you through how to make a claim for your injuries. Call us today at 404-593-2620 for a consultation.
About the Author Betty Nguyen Davis is an Atlanta attorney who solely focuses her practice on plaintiff’s personal injury work. Betty is consistently recognized by her peers as a top attorney in Georgia by Super Lawyers and Georgia Trend and is highly recommended by her clients as a aggressive and persistent, yet caring and accessible attorney.