While we place our trust in other drivers to adhere to the rules of the road, not every driver does so. When crashes occur because of another driver’s reckless use of a cellphone, it may be time for you to call a St. Louis texting while driving accident lawyer. A trial lawyer can fight for your right to compensation in court and hold negligent parties accountable.
St. Louis Laws Regarding Cell Phones and Driving
The laws in Missouri relating to the use of cellphones while driving are governed by state law that is determined by legislators in Jefferson City.
Current Missouri law states that individuals 21 years of age and younger are prohibited from texting and driving simultaneously. That means that they are prohibited from using a cellphone for any other option than making a telephone call. They are not allowed to text and drive or look at any form of social media while they are driving.
Missouri law currently allows individuals older than 21 to text while driving although there have been multiple attempts in the Missouri legislature to implement a complete ban on this activity. Missouri is one of just three states that still permits individuals over 21 years of age to text while driving and perform any related cellphone activity while driving.
Novice Drivers vs. Experienced Drivers
Novice drivers are individuals in the age range of 16 to 21. This age group is prohibited from using cellphones in any way while they are driving other than making telephone calls. They are prohibited from using a cellphone to text, check social media, or anything of that nature while they are driving.
For individuals over the age of 21, there are currently no restrictions on the use of a cellphone while driving, which simply means they can use their phone to make a telephone call or to text or to check social media or for any other purpose.
How Your Cell Phone Usage Impacts the Nature of a Car Wreck Claim
When a driver is using a cellphone at the time of a crash, and suffer injuries in the crash, the concept of comparative fault comes into play. Any time you are determined to be partially responsible for the crash that caused your injuries, a jury is allowed to take that evidence into consideration and make a determination as to what percentage of fault you should be held responsible.
If you are deemed to be partially at fault for causing the accident that resulted in your injuries, the amount of the jury award is reduced by the percentage amount the jury assigns to you for fault of the crash. Therefore, if a jury awards a certain amount for your injuries, that amount would be reduced by the amount the jury determines you to be at fault. This concept is called comparative fault.
How a Wrongdoer’s Cell Phone Usage Impacts a Car Crash Case
In a lawsuit where an injured party is pursuing compensation against the person alleged to be at fault for causing their injuries, all conduct of the defendant at the time of the crash becomes part of the discovery process and potentially admissible at trial. If that defendant is texting and driving or checking social media while operating the vehicle, all of that information becomes relevant to the case in determining whether or not the defendant was negligent. Whether they are determined to be negligent is a key factor in determining whether they are held responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Ultimately, a jury has to find that the defendant was negligent and that their negligence caused your injuries. If the defendant was using a cellphone at the time and the jury determines that the use of that cellphone contributed to their negligent conduct, then there is a higher likelihood that they would find for you. All the while, a St. Louis texting while driving accident lawyer can advocate for your right to compensation in court.
What Happens When Both Parties Were On Their Phones at the Time of the Wreck?
When both parties to a lawsuit are determined to have been using their cellphones at the time of the crash, then the jury has to weigh the percentage of fault for each party, if any. Part of that analysis may come down to what they were using their cellphone for or how they were using their cellphone. If one party was simply on a telephone call using a hands-free device, the chance of the jury finding that their conduct was a significant, contributing factor to the crash may be less than if that party was texting and driving at the time of the crash.
Relevant Evidence for Car Wreck Personal Injury Cases
Obtaining cellphone records is a fairly new area of law. If cellphone use is going to be an issue in your case, then it would be included in the discovery process. The requesting party would issue a Request for Production of Documents to obtain the opposing party’s cellphone records. More than likely, that party is going to fight the disclosure of these records claiming, among other things, invasion of privacy. If no objections to the production of cell phone records are made, the party is required to sign an authorization to permit the opposing side to collect their cellphone records.
If there is no agreement between the parties on whether cell phone records should be produced during a legal case, then the party seeking the records would pursue a court order to force the other party’s cellphone company to release those records. When it comes down to either a consent agreement or a court order, there are many different options available because there may be legitimate arguments that some information contained in the cellphone records is inadmissible, irrelevant, or could be protected business information or could potentially be covered by attorney-client privilege.
The judge would have to craft the order to ensure that only the information that would be deemed relevant and probative for that particular court case is produced through the court order and/or subpoena to collect those records. This can easily be done with the help of a St. Louis texting while driving accident lawyer.
Speak to a Legal Representative Today
Even if you were seriously injured while using your phone in a car wreck, you need to talk to a St. Louis texting while driving accident lawyer. While you may consider yourself to be partially at fault, there still may be hope for recovering your losses. An attorney can evaluate your claim and determine if there was any shared degree of fault. If there is, a lawyer at our firm can pursue compensation on your behalf. Reach out to an attorney today.