While state law in Virginia does not currently prohibit drivers from talking on the phone while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, texting while driving can lead to criminal penalties, as well as liability in the event of an accident. If you were recently involved in a wreck caused by someone who was using their cellphone, their reckless action may qualify as grounds for you to file civil suit.
However, identifying and recovering for all the injuries and losses that such a crash may cause can be difficult without help from a car accident attorney. By consulting a Hanover County texting while driving accident lawyer, you could get a clear picture of your legal options and more accurately determine the best one for your circumstances.
Hanover County has local ordinances that regulate the use of cellphones while driving and are the same as the state rules, which state that an individual cannot read or send text messages or emails while driving. However, it is currently permitted to use a handheld device behind the wheel, and Virginia is likely not going to ban someone from using a cellphone while driving.
While drivers in Hanover County are allowed to hold their phone while driving, the best thing to do from a distracted driving standpoint is to completely avoid using phone while operating a motor vehicle. The problem is not so much that the driver’s hands are occupied, but that they are distracted from the task at hand, potentially meaning that they are unable to adequately react to changes in conditions or prevent an accident.
Novice drivers are subject to the same rules regarding texting while driving as more experienced drivers are, and they are also not prohibited from doing anything specific while driving that experienced drivers are allowed to do. State law does not make any distinctions between the two groups.
If the plaintiff in a civil case was using a phone at the time of their accident, it can lead to questions about contributory negligence—specifically, whether they were paying full time and attention to the road. Injecting this kind of question into a case can effectively put a plaintiff’s entire recovery at risk. Since Virginia is a contributory negligence state, the use of a cellphone by the plaintiff could bar them from recovery entirely, even if the defendant was also using their cellphone.
Conversely, cellphone use by the defendant at the time of an accident could possibly constitute grounds for punitive damages depending on the specific circumstances of the case. It is possible that a Hanover County texting while driving attorney could even go after the person who was texting with them, if that person knew that they were operating a car at the time they were texting.
The most crucial evidence that a texting while driving lawyer in Hanover County would need to obtain to achieve a successful case result is the defendant’s cellphone records. To get these records, they generally have to send out a subpoena after the case is filed.
A lot of times, cellphone carriers do not retain information regarding incoming and outgoing text messages. They keep the call logs, but a lot of times the text messages themselves, as well as records of when they came in and from whom, are not kept.
To seize the phone records of drivers involved in car accidents in Hanover County, the police can just get a search warrant like they would for any other criminal activity involving the search of a phone, and the insurance companies just need written consent from the plaintiff. This can be a source of concern for some plaintiffs, though, so it is usually wise to consult with legal counsel before signing anything like that over.
Following a car accident of any kind, you may find yourself dealing with all kinds of unanticipated injuries and expenses. Fortunately, if you can prove that another person caused your damages by texting while behind the wheel, you may have a strong case for civil compensation. Talk to a Hanover County texting while driving accident lawyer to discuss what may be possible in your situation.