Recovering in a Texting While Driving Accident
Smartphones are an ever-present staple in today’s society and instant communication is constantly at our fingertips. The urge to quickly read a text from a friend or to let a spouse know that you’ll be a few minutes late can strike even while driving down the road. Although texting and driving is banned in 46 states, people clearly continue to do so. Statistics from the National Safety Council show that the use of a cell phone while driving leads to 1.6 million car accidents per year. If you have been involved in an accident caused by someone who was texting while driving, you may be entitled to financial compensation to offset the costs of your accident.
What is the Law in New Mexico with Regard to Texting and Driving?
New Mexico outlawed texting while driving in 2014 when it passed statute 66-7-364. The law prohibits drivers from texting while “in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on a highway or street.” The law clearly prohibits texting while driving, but it may come as a surprise to some drivers that this law also applies to drivers who are temporarily stopped, such as while sitting at a traffic light or waiting in standstill traffic.
In short, if you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, you can be fined for texting. The statute calls for a fine of $25 for the first offense of texting while driving, and increases to $50 for all subsequent offenses.
What Can I Recover In a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation–otherwise known as damages via a personal injury lawsuit. If you are the victim of an accident, then you know that the damage caused is more than just physical. You may be facing a mountain of medical bills, and if you have had to miss work because of your accident, you may have missed out on income for that period of time. A successful lawsuit can help compensate you for:
- Medical bills such as hospital stays and surgery costs
- Treatment for your injuries such as rehabilitative therapy, including future treatment that may be needed
- Lost wages from missing work after your accident
- Loss of earning capacity if you were so severely injured that you are permanently unable to work
- Physical pain that you suffered during and after your accident
- Mental anguish that you suffered as a result of your accident, including depression and anxiety
- In cases of extreme recklessness, it may also be possible to pursue additional “punitive” damages. These are meant to punish the person who caused your accident and deter similar conduct in the future.
Don’t Wait to Take Action
If you have been injured by a distracted driver in New Mexico and are considering filing a lawsuit, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible following your accident. In New Mexico, there is a three-year “statute of limitations” for a personal injury, which means that a person who is injured in a car accident has three years from the date the accident occurred to file a personal injury lawsuit. While this may sound like a long time to file a suit, deadlines may sneak up on you, as settlement negotiations with insurance companies can take a substantial amount of time. After the statute of limitations has passed, it can be difficult or even impossible to file a lawsuit to recover damages for your injuries.