A car accident can leave you with serious physical injuries and emotional scars. When you find out the other driver was texting while driving in Virginia, it can lead to frustration and anger. When you discover that distracted driving was the cause of your accident, there are a few key things you should do:
- Seek immediate medical attention
- File a police report immediately even if the other driver says they will pay for damages
- Take a photo of the other driver’s insurance card if possible
- Ask any witnesses for their observations and contact information
- Consult an attorney in your area
If the other driver was texting while driving in Virginia, or engaging in any other form of distracted driving, you should speak to an attorney who can help you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit to recover the full financial damages the law says you are entitled to receive.
Virginia Texting While Driving Laws
Virginia statute 46.2-1078.1. prohibits the use of handheld personal communications devices like cell phones in certain motor vehicles. It is unlawful for you to operate a moving motor vehicle while using any handheld personal communications device to the text as a way of communicating with another person. It is also unlawful to read or reply to a text message or email you receive.
In an effort to keep Virginia’s roads and highways safe, the law further prohibits you from even holding your cell phone in your hand, especially if you are driving through a highway work zone. Breaking this distracted driving law can result in a fine of $125 for a first offense and $250 for a second or subsequent offense. The laws regarding texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving are important enough to be included in the written driver’s license exam.
The law may hold some exceptions that allow you to text in the event of certain emergencies. Your attorney can help you understand how these emergencies are defined and if they apply to the other driver involved in your lawsuit.
Virginia’s Highway Work Zones
In the state of Virginia, a highway work zone is considered to be any construction or maintenance area that is situated on or adjacent to a highway. The highway work zone will also be marked by applicable and appropriate warning signs. These signs will have either clearly visible, attached flashing lights or other traffic control devices that indicate when work is in progress. It is a violation of the law to drive in these work zones while holding or using a cell phone or other handheld personal communications device.
The Effects of Texting While Driving in Virginia
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety Office compiles and publishes an annual report of all motor vehicle accidents and their related causes. In 2018, they cited the following statistics:
- 131,848 total car accidents (a 3.5% increase over 2017)
- 66,523 accident-related injuries (a 1.9% increase over 2017)
- 819 accident-related fatalities (a 2.9% decrease from 2017)
Of this total number, distracted drivers accounted for 24,350 accidents, which shows a 6.8% decrease from the previous year.
An Attorney Can Help in Your Car Accident Claim in Virginia
If the other driver involved in your car accident was clearly at fault and was texting while driving, it can be tempting to negotiate with their insurance company since the law is unmistakably on your side. Even in cases where the fault is plainly assigned, however, an attorney is a valuable ally who can help you receive the maximum payout to which you are entitled.
Your attorney can help you compile all the paperwork you need to strengthen and support your case. That can include medical bills, witness statements, reports from medical experts, and police reports. Your attorney can also ensure you gather all necessary evidence and file your claim within the strict timelines the state of Virginia imposes.
The insurance company might offer you a speedy settlement for your car accident, but they are working in their own best interest. Your attorney, however, is your advocate. Your attorney can negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive every benefit their policy entitles you to receive. If necessary, they will also represent you in a court case.
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If you were the victim of a car accident where the other driver was texting while driving in Virginia, you might be entitled to receive financial compensation for your medical bills and other accident-related financial losses. Our representation of insurance companies in the past now works in your favor, as we know the insurance companies’ tactics and strategies to avoid paying you. Call the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC at (571) 229-1800 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation about your car accident case today.