Each year, thousands of lives are taken as a result of a driver operating their vehicle while texting. In 2017, an estimated 3,166 people were killed in a distracted driving wreck, many of which involved the use of a cellphone [Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]. The fact is, many citizens have grown attached to their mobile devices and are unable to detach from them when it is necessary to do so. This, in turn, results in drivers getting behind the wheel and utilizing their phones for texting, talking, and scrolling through social media.
Now, if you or anyone you know was recently involved in a wreck with a distracted driver who was texting and you are now looking to take legal action against him or her, you first need to understand what your legal rights are. Given you can prove the driver was negligent and was engaging in distracted driving, you do hold the right to file an insurance claim with the motorist’s insurer. Whether you will be able to recover the full amount you are entitled to for your damages all depends on what the driver’s policy will pay.
The truth is, many drivers aren’t fully compensated for their damages/losses by the insurer which often leads to them hiring a Nashville, TN car wreck attorney and filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist.
Why do I need to hire a car wreck lawyer after engaging in an accident with a distracted driver?
A car wreck attorney will not only determine whether you have grounds to file suit against the driver, but they can also help you recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to collect. In order to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of TN, you are going to need to prove that the driver was engaging in negligent behavior and that his or her behavior contributed to causing the collision. One way you can prove the motorist was negligent is by establishing which traffic laws he or she violated.
In the state of TN, Tenn. Code Ann. §55-8-199 states that “no person while driving a motor vehicle on any public road or highway shall use a hand-held mobile telephone or a hand-held personal digital assistant to transmit or read a written message.” The law also says that “it is a delinquent act for a person under eighteen (18) years of age to knowingly operate a motor vehicle on any road or highway in this state and use a mobile telephone or personal digital assistant that is equipped with a hands-free device to transmit or read a written message.”
After identifying which laws the driver was in violation of, you then stand a better chance at obtaining a successful outcome in your case.
You also have the right to request that punitive damages be awarded to you in addition to the other damages you are seeking.
When filing a personal injury lawsuit, you are likely going to be asking that compensatory damages are awarded, which will help you pay those expensive medical bills you now owe as well as for the pain and suffering the driver has caused you. But aside from compensatory damages, you also have the right to request that punitive damages be awarded which serve as a way to punish an individual for their misconduct. Aside from punitive damages serving as a punishment, they are also expected to help deter the driver and others from engaging in this sort of behavior again.
The reason you might consider demanding that you receive punitive damages is because the state doesn’t punish those who engage in the act very harshly. For instance, when someone is caught operating their vehicle while using their cellphone to send or read a text message, they are subject to a fine that shall not exceed $50 and court costs that shall not exceed $10 [Source: Tenn. Code Ann. §55-8-199]. Now, that doesn’t mean someone who causes a car wreck is able to walk away with only a $50 fine as they could face additional fines and even criminal charges if they violated other state laws. However, the point we are trying to make is that the state doesn’t impose serious punishments for a texting while driving offense.
So, if you are looking to have the driver punished more severely than how the state penalizes him or her, you may want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit in an effort to recover both compensatory and punitive damages. Now, if you are ready to find just how much your injuries and other losses entitle you to recoup, contact the Law Office of George R. Fusner Jr. today to schedule a consultation with Nashville, TN car wreck attorney George R. Fusner Jr.
You can reach the Law Office of George R. Fusner Jr. at
7104 Peach Court
Brentwood, TN 37027