In 2009, texting behind the wheel of a car became illegal in California—one of the earliest states to adopt this law. However, while you might feel safer traveling on the state’s roads because of these laws, accidents still occur because of texting motorists.
Moreover, when you are injured because another driver paid more attention to their cell phone than the road, the damage can be catastrophic. After falling victim to an accident like this, you might wonder how you will pay your bills and support your family.
Fortunately, our tenacious car accident attorneys have decades of combined experience negotiating with insurance companies and fighting for injured victims in court. When you are hurt in a texting while driving car accident in Stockton, contact our lawyers today.
California Laws Limiting Handheld Devices
In 2008, California enacted the Handheld Wireless Telephone Law, which bans motorists from using handheld wireless devices while driving on public roads. However, adult and commercial drivers can use hands-free communication devices or an earpiece in one ear only.
On the other hand, California’s Wireless Communications Device Law of 2009 bans residents, commercial drivers, and out-of-state visitors from texting and responding to messages while driving. Under both the 2008 and 2009 laws, drivers can contact help in emergencies.
Emergency vehicle operators are exempt from both laws, but drivers younger than 18 cannot use any handheld device, even with an earpiece, except in an emergency. A knowledgeable Stockton attorney can explain texting while driving laws during a private consultation.
What are the Penalties for Distracted Driving?
While texting behind the wheel is undoubtedly considered distracted driving, California also recognizes other forms of inattentive driving, like eating, grooming, and trying to find something on the car floor. This behavior often results in rear-end or head-on collisions. Distracted driving fines depend on whether the driver is a first-time or repeat offender and if they caused the accident. The base fine is $20 for a first offense, but penalties can double or triple at the judge’s discretion. Motorists can even lose their driving privileges after two or more violations in three years. Commercial drivers can also forfeit their driving abilities for 60 days after a second offense and 120 days after multiple offenses. In these cases, the commercial vehicle operator must pay a fine of up to $2,750 and accept negative points on their license. Whether a commercial driver or everyday motorist caused a car wreck by texting while driving, a diligent lawyer in Stockton will work to collect evidence proving their liability.
Texting and Driving is Negligent Driving
California is an at-fault state: the injured party must look to the responsible party’s insurance carrier to pay damages following a car crash. California requires that drivers carry a minimum of $15,000 in bodily injury coverage per person and $30,000 per accident. However, that figure is often minimal compared to the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and emotional trauma. When this is the case, the injured person must sue the at-fault driver in court.
During these proceedings, the victim’s attorney will use evidence to negotiate a fair insurance settlement, giving the adjuster facts that would sway a jury. For example, if the responding officer tickets the at-fault driver for texting while driving, the insurance adjuster might have difficulty denying their client’s liability for the auto accident. In many cases, when a legal representative files a negligence lawsuit in Stockton, the elements of the duty to drive safely and the breach of that duty by texting is already established.
Get Help From an Attorney in Stockton After a Texting While Driving Car Accident
Although California recognized the danger of texting and driving early in the trend and enacted laws to try and prevent it, the problem persists. Unfortunately, many do not believe sending one text will put drivers around them at risk—but it does.
You deserve seasoned legal representation when you are hurt in a texting while driving accident. So, while you recover your health, let our lawyers—familiar with texting while driving car accidents in Stockton—recover compensation for you. Call today.