Texting While Driving Accidents in West Virginia

A driver’s attention can shift at a moment’s notice, increasing the risk of an accident. With the constant presence of cell phones nowadays, a phone call or a text can take a driver’s attention away from the dangers of the road quickly.

A car accident caused by texting can lead to serious injury and to questions of legal responsibility for those injuries. Texting while driving accidents in West Virginia fall under state laws governing liability, procedure, and even criminal penalties. Our trustworthy car accident attorneys can explain what you need to do to secure damages.

Laws Against Texting While Driving

Texting or otherwise using a device diverts the driver’s attention from the road. Even if attention shifts for a split second, a distracted driver can easily end up in an accident, risking severe injuries to other drivers and pedestrians, as well as him or herself.

Because of the risk of distracted driving, West Virginia outlaws using a cell phone while driving, unless the driver uses handsfree or talk-to-text commands. West Virginia Code § 17C-14-15 prohibits using a “wireless communication device”—which includes cell phones and PDAs, but not smartwatches or radios used by bus drivers or emergency personnel—while driving a vehicle.

Violating this statute by texting while driving can result in a misdemeanor and a significant fine in West Virginia, on top of possibly causing an accident which may open the driver up to civil liability.

Negligence Liability for Texting While Driving

If someone texts while driving and causes an accident, another injured person could sue him or her for compensation, known as damages. Such a claim comes from negligence—behavior that falls below a reasonable standard of care.

An injured person trying to prove negligence would have to show that the driver had a duty of care, then breached that duty, which caused injuries and damages recognized by the law. A claim might show that a driver was at fault as defined by W. Va. Code § 55-7-13b (duty of care not to injure others), that the driver was distracted because of texting while driving, the texting caused the injuries, and that those injuries are represented by medical costs, lost wages, and even pain and suffering.

A person who is suing based on negligence also must consider his or her own actions in addition to the actions of the at-fault driver. West Virginia uses a system of comparative fault, which assigns fault to all parties and nonparties to a lawsuit in percentages. If the plaintiff  was partially at fault for causing the injuries, the available damages decrease by the percentage of fault, and  the law bars recovery if a person’s responsibility exceeds 50 percent.

Beyond the liability standards summarized here, an injured person must file their claim within two years, according to W. Va. Code § 55-2-12, though that window can extend in special circumstances.

Learn More About Texting While Driving Accidents in West Virginia From an Attorney

The temptation to use a cell phone behind the wheel can distract from sound judgment and safe driving. Texting while driving can lead to an accident, injuries, and even criminal liability.

If you suffered injuries because a driver texted while driving in West Virginia—or even if you texted while driving but another driver was at fault—you might be able to file a claim against the other driver. Our team of personal injury attorneys can guide you through the process of filing suit and give in-depth advice about what you can expect in a claim. Call us for a completely free consultation.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law