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Rhode Island Texting and Driving Accident Attorney

Man texting while drivingMan texting while drivingMillions of car crashes happen every year due to cell phone use, particularly texting and driving. The activity is not only dangerous, but it is also against the law in Rhode Island. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a driver who was texting, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more.

At Bottaro Law, we advocate for the rights of accident victims throughout Rhode Island. Our attorneys know how to investigate an accident, negotiate with the insurance companies, and demand the total compensation you deserve. 

Contact our offices today for a free case review with a texting and driving accident lawyer in Rhode Island and find out what our firm can do for you. 

Is It Illegal to Text and Drive in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island has adopted a law making it illegal for a driver to hold a cell phone or other wireless electronic device while operating a vehicle. That means a driver is not allowed to hold a cell phone to talk, read or compose a text message, check email, or look at social media. Drivers are also barred from using headphones or other devices that cover both ears. However, drivers may use text-to-speech, speech-to-text, or other hands-free systems to send and hear text messages while behind the wheel. 

Rhode Island’s cell phone law is a primary offense, which means a police officer can initiate a traffic stop if they observe someone holding a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. The officer does not need to witness any other traffic violations to stop a driver who violates the cell phone law. 

Conviction carries a $100 fine, although a first-time offender can have the fine waived by providing the court with proof of purchase of a hands-free device.

Why Is Texting While Driving Dangerous?

Texting while driving is dangerous because it distracts a driver in three ways: 

  • Manual distraction – Taking one or both hands off the wheel
  • Visual distraction – Taking eyes off the road
  • Cognitive or mental distraction – Thinking about things other than the task of driving

On average, reading a text message takes five seconds, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In that short time, a vehicle going 55 mph will have traveled the length of a football field without the driver being fully aware of what’s happening around them – more than enough time and space to cause a severe accident.

What Damages Can I Seek for a Texting and Driving Crash?

If you’ve been injured by a driver who was texting, you could be entitled to compensation for the following losses:

  • Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation of your injuries
  • Costs of long-term care if you suffer a permanently disabling condition
  • Loss of income due to your injuries, including future earning potential if your injuries are permanent 
  • Physical pain and emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life due to disabilities or visible scarring and disfigurement
  • Repair costs for damage to your vehicle or reimbursement of your vehicle’s cash value if it was totaled in the accident

Types of Texting and Driving Accident Injuries

A driver who is texting behind the wheel is not paying attention to their surroundings and changing traffic conditions, which puts themselves and everyone around them at risk of accidents and serious injuries. 

Examples of potential injuries from a crash due to texting include:

  • Broken bones
  • Ligament, tendon, and muscle injuries and tears
  • Whiplash 
  • Nerve damage
  • Herniated discs
  • Internal injuries and bleeding
  • Facial injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Head and traumatic brain injuries
  • Amputation

Who Pays for My Injuries If I Was Involved in a Car Accident Caused by a Distracted Driver?

In Rhode Island, anyone who causes a car accident can be held liable for compensating anyone they injured as a result. 

If you are injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you can file a claim with their insurance provider for compensation. Drivers in Rhode Island must carry at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance. If you are injured in a texting while driving accident, the at-fault driver’s insurer should cover the costs of your medical bills and related expenses up to the policy limits.

If the other driver does not have insurance or does not have enough to cover the full extent of your losses, your insurer can further compensate you if you purchased optional uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.

In some instances, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver in civil court to pursue the full compensation you deserve. An experienced attorney can review the details of your case and determine possible sources of compensation. 

Rhode Island follows a pure comparative negligence rule, which means an injured party can seek compensation even if they are partly to blame for the crash. However, the amount they receive will be reduced in proportion to their percentage of the blame.

Texting and Driving Statistics in Rhode Island

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3,000 people die, and more than 400,000 are injured each year nationwide in distracted driving accidents. About 20 percent of fatalities in distracted driving accidents are pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-passengers. Drivers aged 15-20 are more likely to be distracted in an accident that causes a fatality than any other age group.

While no information is publicly available about the number of distracted driving-related crashes in Rhode Island, there were 57 traffic fatalities in the state that same year, according to NHTSA. If the same rates hold at the state level as at the national level, at least five deaths were due to distracted driving.

Contact a Texting and Driving Accident Lawyer in Rhode Island

If you were injured in a texting and driving crash, contact Bottaro Law today for a free, no-obligation case review. Our texting and driving accident lawyers have the experience and skills to take on insurance companies and help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries and other losses.