Getting into a car accident – even if you’re minimally affected can be a stressful situation. When you’re in the moment, things can be scary while you try to get your bearings to figure out what, exactly, just happened. Add to that the crime of texting and driving, and your situation gets very serious, very fast. Texting and driving accidents in South Carolina are a crime.
This rule came into law back in 2014, stating that it is unlawful to use a wireless electronic communication device to compose, send or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle on public South Carolina highway. A ticket for texting and driving for first-time offenders is $25. Some say that’s not nearly enough, given the fact that texting and driving accidents now surpass that of drinking and driving car accidents.
Texting and Driving Accidents are on the Rise
The $25 doesn’t have a huge impact on a driver but killing or injuring someone else because of distracted driving should. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, statistics show that in 2015, distracted driving was to blame for more than 3,000 fatal car accidents and nearly 400,000 injuries nationwide.
Texting and driving accidents so dangerous because it encompasses all forms of distracted driving. Even one of the following is enough to cause a bad accident, but all three forms combined are the precise reason for the high number of texting and driving car accidents in South Carolina. The distractions are defined as follows:
- Cognitive distraction takes your thoughts off the road and causes your mind to focus on something else.
- Visual distraction takes your eyes off the road and causes you to physically look at another activity.
- Manual distraction means that your hands are physically removed from the wheel and are instead holding something else and not the steering wheel
With texting, you are thinking of something else and not your driving. You are looking at your phone and not the road, and you are not holding the wheel with two hands, but rather one or worse, none.
If You Think You’ve Been Hit by Someone Texting and Driving
Whether you are another driver or a pedestrian, being hit by a car is scary. If this happens to you, make sure you do the following:
Step 1: Assess any injuries
Safety is a priority. If you or someone else is injured, call for help immediately. Even the most minor injuries need to be documented. Head, neck and back injuries can show themselves days following an accident, so its best to get injuries officially documented, just in case you need that document for future reference.
Step 2: Call the police
As the officer arrives on the scene, note the name and badge number, just in case you need to communicate in the future. A formal police report will serve as documentation that will help your case. Also, tell the police officer that you suspect the other driver was texting and driving when the accident occurs and ask them to document this information in the police report.
Step 3: Exchange information
Get the other driver’s insurance information along with their name, address, and phone number. Be sure to give them your insurance information as well. You’ll both give this to your own insurance company’s, and they’ll determine fault and liability.
Step 4: Take pictures
Get as many photos as you can of the car positions, roads, weather conditions, license plates, damages, skid marks and anything else that may seem relevant to your car accident.
Step 5: Get witnesses involved
Talk to any witness who can share what they saw and get their contact information.
Step 6: Contact an attorney
If you suspect you were the victim of a texting and driving car accident, you could get compensation. It is not your responsibility – or that of your insurance company – to cover the cost of any medical bills or vehicle repairs; that should come from the driver that hit you.
You need to tell your attorney that suspect the other driver was texting and driving. At Hernandez & Cabra, attorneys will pull cell phone records from the other driver to help prove your suspicions.
What Do You Do Now?
Talking with an attorney is the least you should do after a distracted driving car accident. It may seem to you that your case is clear-cut and that all the damages should be paid by the other driver’s insurance company. However, too many victims of texting and driving car accidents have learned the hard way that things don’t always go as planned. Even your own insurance company can deny coverage for you.
To make sure you don’t find yourself in this situation, call the attorneys at Hernandez & Cabra today for a free consultation. We can help you get the maximum compensation for your texting and driving case.