Attorneys Jason McMinn and Justin McMinn have experience defending the rights of those injured at the hands of distracted drivers. Despite statewide efforts to reduce distracted driving, drivers still use their devices while behind the wheel. Nine percent of all fatal crashes of 2017 were caused by distracted driving. It isn’t just irresponsible – it’s a dangerous decision that puts other lives at risk.
At McMinn Law Firm we protect Texans who have been injured due to distracted driving.
Jason McMinn Files Lawsuit Against Distracted, Drunk Uber Driver
May 22, 2019
Jason McMinn filed a case that demonstrates how some drivers put cell phone use over the safety of others. An Uber driver with passengers in the back seat used her phone, and made an unsafe exit out of a private drive. The Uber driver and her passengers were rear-ended as soon as she pulled out. The clients say she smelled of alcohol and believe she was drunk at the time of the crash.
Ms. Thompson has been unable to work since the accident. As an EMT, her injuries prevent her from being able to lift. She worries about how the injuries will affect her kids. How her family has changed since her ability to care for her family has diminished since the Uber car accident.
She suffered a severe spinal injury, which required surgery to be repaired. Severe pain from injuries sustained in the crash continued, limiting the client’s ability to participate in daily activities.
Wednesday May 22, 2019 Jason McMinn spoke about the case with reporters. He warned that without proper driver training, cases like this would affect others in the community. The next time a rideshare driver engages with an app while driving, it could cost a life.
As attorney in this distracted driving case, Jason McMinn fights for the rights of this family to be made whole again.
No one should have to endure serious injuries because an Uber or Lyft driver used the rideshare app while riding. With better training in place, or monitoring of drivers, accidents like this could be completely prevented.
Contact McMinn Law Firm for a free consultation of your texting while driving accident case.
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Distracted driving kills.
- Nationwide, it claimed 3,166 lives in 2015.
- Distracted driving caused 5,555 traffic crashes in Austin. (2017)
- Killed 449 people in Texas in 403 fatal accidents (2017)
- Caused a possible 2,883 serious injuries in Texas (2017)
Many of these 2017 numbers provided TxDOT are down from striking figures that officials recorded in 2015. It is possible to reduce distracted driving deaths – it takes efforts from everyone driving.
Since 2016, TxDOT has supported a statewide “Talk. Text. Crash.” campaign. A rolling exhibit has moved across the state from one college campus to the next. Students, faculty and staff can view a car-sized smartphone that appears to have been in a car crash.
McMinn Law Firm Interview with KVUE News on Distracted Driving Case
McMinn Law Firm leads the news for a lawsuit filed that has the potential to protect consumers from distracted driving. In 2017 McMinn Law Firm filed a lawsuit against Lyft for allowing drivers to drive for the app while distracted. A family was torn apart, losing a mother and daughter when an Uber driver attempted to accept a ride from a Lyft customer.
Further details about the case cannot be released due to confidentiality. For more information about the family and their recovery, read about it on mcminnlaw.com.
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Important Actions to take After Car Accidents Due to Texting
A distracted driver has the potential to cause serious, life threatening injuries. An indication of a possible distracted crash is crashing at high rate of speed.
Distracted driving injury compensation
No case value is ever the same, but there are a few basic things to understand. A personal injury case is usually valued based on damages such as cost of medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
A settlement typically includes:
A driver who was severely injured may have a higher settlement value than someone who was not injured. In certain cases of extreme negligence, a lawyer may be able to argue for punitive damages on behalf of their client. Jason McMinn secured $10,000 in punitive damages in a recent dog bite case. Compensation beyond the insurance policy limits when damages go beyond just “negligence.”
Fault plays a role in the value of a case. In distracted driving cases, it may be more likely that the other party must assume 100% of fault. With a clear liability, the insurance company is less likely to oppose a settlement. That may make the process quicker, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire a lawyer. (Here’s why.) A personal injury settlement depends on every party’s liability in the crash. Don’t forget that the insurance adjuster is looking out for the interests of their employer only.
How do you prove distracted driving?
At McMinn Law Firm, we are experienced investigators. Evidence of texting and driving can be found at the scene of the crash, on cell phone records or in social media activity.
- Crash scene evidence: No brake marks at the scene of the crash could mean the driver failed to see the vehicle they struck. Other evidence of driver distraction could include food, a makeup kit, or another electronic device.
- Cell phone records: We will obtain the cell phone records to determine whether he or she was texting or talking during the crash.
- Social media activity: A social media post or records of posting while driving could show the driver was on their phone during the accident.
- Eyewitness statements: Other people may have seen the driver talking or texting.
Act quickly at the scene of the crash to record and gather this information.
Distracted Driving Laws in Texas
After nearly a decade of attempts, a texting ban has been passed statewide in Texas. It went into effect September 1st, 2017 and it comes with a few exceptions.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill, but said that he “was not satisfied with the law as it was written.” He went on to say that he doesn’t want to see a patchwork quilt of driving regulations in the state. If a preemptive law were passed in the 2019 Texas legislative session, that would affect city ordinances in Austin and a dozen other cities across Texas.
A statewide ban for drivers of all ages finally passed during the 2017 legislative session in Texas. Since September 1, 2017, drivers in Texas have been prohibited from using Instagram, Texting, Facebook, Whatsapp and all other use of devices while behind the wheel. The few exceptions are:
- Use a phone when the vehicle is stopped.
- Play music when operating a car’s stereo system. Employ a car’s stereo system to access a map (such as Google Maps)
Texas was one of the last four states to pass a life-saving statewide texting ban. In four previous sessions of the Texas legislature lawmakers proposed versions of a statewide distracted driving bill. It took until the 2017 session of the Texas Legislative session to turn things around.
In March the Texas House voted 114-32 to pass the legislation. Lawmakers made one amendment to the bill to ensure drivers don’t get fined twice for a distracted driving offense. That is, if a municipality already has a distracted driving ordinance on the books the driver could only face one penalty.
The law allows law enforcement to pull over an individual as a primary offense. That means that an officer is able to pull a driver over simply for using their phone while driving.
In Austin city limits, a no texting ban has been in place since Jan. 1 2015. Since then, Austin drivers have been banned from using portable devices such as:
- Mobile telephone
- MP3 or other hand-held music player
- Electronic reading device
- Laptop computer
- Broadband personal communication device
- GPS or navigation system
- Electronic gaming device
- Portable computing device
Austin was not the only city to create a hands-free ordinance in advance of the statewide distracted driving legislation. Read on to see why cities acted on their own to pass life-saving measures for communities across Texas.
Distracted Driving Legislation Attempts in Texas
A distracted driving ban has now been passed in Texas for all drivers. But passing the statewide ban took time. Read our recap of how Texas reached a comprehensive, life-saving ban on distracted driving.
House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, worked to pass a bill for four legislative sessions. And for almost a decade the “common-sense ban” has been shot down by Texas representatives leaving it up to municipalities to pass and enforce their own version of the distracted driving ban.
As of 2015 the ban still hadn’t cleared the last hurdles – the Texas Senate or a signature from Governor Greg Abbott. Former governor Rick Perry vetoed the bill calling “overreach” and an “effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.” Between 2009 and 2016 more than 95 Texas cities passed local ordinances banning some form of cellphone use while driving. These ordinances were a local answer for safety until state officials caught up.
Drivers Always Prohibited from Texting and Driving
Despite Perry’s vetoes in years leading up to 2017, some drivers were already banned from texting and driving statewide.
Even before many city ordinances took effect, some drivers were always prohibited from using a device while behind the wheel. If you are the parent of a teen driver, some experts suggest requiring your young driver to store the device in the glove compartment while in the car. See which drivers (or situations when all drivers) are prohibited from engaging with a device across the state of Texas.
- Drivers younger than 18.The state prohibits teen drivers from any handheld electronic use while behind the wheel.
- School bus drivers, when children are present.
- Drivers in school zones.
- New drivers: Those with learner’s permits are prohibited from using cell phones in the first six months of driving.
- Drivers, companies operating a commercial vehicle may be subject to fines or penalties. Commercial drivers have had restrictions in place since 2012 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Drivers may be disqualified from renewing a commercial license if they have a record of texting-while-driving violations.
A driver may face a $2,750 fine for the act. More substantially an employer could face an $11,000 for requiring the action.
End Distracted Driving
Lyft and Uber have faced lawsuits filed by McMinn Law Firm after a mother and daughter died in a tragic distracted driving crash. An Uber driver attempted to accept a Lyft passenger, made an unsafe left turn, and caused a fatal crash. Find out more about the tragic distracted driving crash here.
Fatalities and injuries from distracted driving is 100% preventable.
Teens are the number one group reported as distracted at the time of a fatal crash. Experts say that teens can speak up to their peers when they see a friend driving while distracted or share messages on social media.
Teens are already subject to a last hurdle before they can take the driver’s license exam. Starting Sept 2015 new drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 are required to watch a two hour video on the dangers of distracted driving.
Parents – be a good example for your teen. Have everyone in the family adopt the policy of no distracted driving. Remind your teen of the consequences of distracted driving. Teens driving anywhere in Texas are subject to distracted driving fines. Fines can be anywhere between $200 and $500 in Texas.
Significant Loss Due to Distracted Driving in Texas
In early April, 13 were killed while coming back from a church retreat. Witnesses say that the driver, 20-year-old Jack D. Young was driving erratically and swerving across lanes for 30 minutes prior to the crash. One witness said that he admitted to texting and driving at the time of the crash.
Young’s truck collided head-on with the van carrying 13 members of First Baptist Church in New Braunfels. Only one person in the van survived, Rose Mary Harris.
Until the crash on March 29, that stretch of U.S. 83 had seen no crashes of any kind this year. While behind the wheel of a pickup truck, Young took his eyes off the road. His actions took the lives of 13 people in one tragic crash.
No criminal charges have been filed at this time. McMinn Law Firm is not involved in any litigation resulting from this crash at this time. This crash is a reminder of the importance of a statewide texting while driving ban.
Want to know more? Contact us for a free case consultation or read more about how personal injury compensation is calculated here.