Even compared to those in many other states, Washington law enforcement authorities and legislators have taken a particularly hardline approach to driving under the influence of electronics. Drivers in Seattle are subject to especially harsh rules prohibiting the use of cell phones or any other electronic device on the road, with very limited exceptions and increasingly severe penalties for successive violations.
If you were hurt in a crash caused by someone texting or using their phone behind the wheel, their irresponsible behavior could constitute grounds to hold them legally and financially liable for your damages. Assistance from a skilled vehicle collision lawyer who is experienced with handling texting while driving car accidents in Seattle could improve your chances of a favorable case resolution.
Could a Texting While Driving Citation Justify a Personal Injury Claim?
It is unlawful for any driver in Washington to use a hand-held cell phone at any point while their vehicle is in motion, or even while they are stopped at a stop light or stuck in traffic. The only exceptions are brief use of a cell phone to contact emergency services and cell phone functions that can be performed with a single button press or touch of the screen.
On top of steep fines and a potential rise in their insurance rates, individuals who choose to text and drive on Seattle’s roads are also subject to civil liability for injuries in the event of a crash. This is because texting while driving—like any other violation of traffic law—breaches the duty of care towards other people on the road that all drivers implicitly assume.
If such a breach of duty directly causes or contributes to a wreck, it constitutes legally actionable negligence that could form the basis for a personal injury claim. Accordingly, anyone who gets hurt in a vehicle accident in Seattle could have a very strong case for civil compensation if they can prove another driver involved was texting while driving.
The Potential Impact of Comparative Fault
Even though driver cell phone use is an overt form of negligent roadway behavior, it is crucial for prospective plaintiffs in Seattle to understand that a texting while driving citation does not automatically make the cited driver 100 percent liable for the consequences of an ensuing wreck. A plaintiff who was acting negligently themselves by breaking the law, driving while distracted, or even using their cell phones themselves, may be found partially to blame for their ensuing damages under Washington’s pure comparative fault system.
According to Revised Code of Washington §4.22.005, any injured party who bears a percentage of the total blame for their accident is subject to a proportional reduction of their final damage award based on that percentage.
Talk to a Seattle Attorney About Texting While Driving Car Accident Litigation
Filing suit after a car accident of any kind can understandably seem like an overwhelming task, particularly if you have never been involved in a personal injury claim before. However, if you were hit by someone texting behind the wheel, you likely have a very strong case if you wish to pursue it, and a qualified legal professional could help you do that effectively and efficiently.
A knowledgeable lawyer could answer all your questions about texting while driving car accidents in Seattle during a private consultation. Schedule yours by calling today.