Texting and Driving Accidents
Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the population does not understand the risks. Many people who would never drink while driving do text while driving. Sending or reading a text message requires you to look away from the road for the amount of time it would take to travel the length of a football field at a highway speed limit. This means that a texting driver may not have enough time to brake and may not have enough to react to other changing road conditions, such as a bicyclist or someone changing lanes. If you are injured in a car accident in the Albuquerque area, you can consult the attorneys at the Fine Law Firm for advice and potentially representation.Proving Liability for Texting and Driving Crashes
Both the state of New Mexico and the city of Albuquerque take texting while driving seriously and enforce laws curtailing this behavior. In the city, the use of cell phones—whether browsing contacts, using social media, or actually texting—while driving is restricted to using hands free devices. The statewide ban is broader than Albuquerque's ordinance. You may not even text while at a stoplight under the state law. However, there is a harsher financial penalty for violating the Albuquerque ordinance. Police officers may cite drivers under either rule.
If you are injured in an accident caused by a texting driver, you may be able to recover compensation under theories of either negligence or negligence per se. To prove negligence, you would have to show that the defendant owed you a duty, which he or she breached, causing the accident and actual damages. Negligence per se may exist when a driver violates a law designed to protect a certain class of people against a particular type of harm, causing that type of harm to a person who is part of the class the legislature intended to protect.
In general, it may be easier to recover damages when the defendant has been cited for texting and driving, and the court recognizes that negligence per se applies to the situation. However, even if the defendant was not cited and denies texting while driving, a review of phone records can provide useful evidence of this behavior.
The damages that may be available to you if you successfully establish negligence or negligence per se include medical expenses, lost earning capacity, lost wages, household services, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and lost enjoyment in activities and life.
What if you are partially to blame for a texting and driving accident? New Mexico follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. This provides that a plaintiff's recovery is reduced by an amount equal to his or her own degree of fault for the accident. In a case in which the total damages are $1,000,000 and the victim is 30% at fault, he or she may be able to recover up to $700,000 from the parties that held the remaining responsibility for the crash.Consult a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney in Albuquerque
Most personal injury cases resolve through settlement. However, it always helps to have an attorney on your side who is prepared to take your case to trial. Insurers do not tend to take an unrepresented accident victim seriously. If you are injured or have lost a loved one on a highway in Albuquerque or the surrounding communities, the motor vehicle collision lawyers at the Fine Law Firm may be able to assist you. Contact us via our online form or call us at (505) 243-4541 to set up a free consultation. We also represent people who have been injured in Rio Rancho and elsewhere in New Mexico.