It is illegal to text while driving in California. It is simply too distracting to be inputting messages while driving in traffic, and accident statistics bear this out.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) calculates that 80 percent of car accidents involve some element of driver distraction, such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, grooming, attending to children, or operating devices such as radios, cigarette lighters, headphones, etc. These unnecessary behaviors take a greater toll than alcohol or drug abuse.
Because of the dangers involved in texting, courts allow injured parties to sue for more than the traditional compensations of medical care, lost paychecks, and pain and suffering. Claimants are additionally allowed to ask juries for punitive damages — to send a message that such behavior will no longer be tolerated in California. Punitive damages may cause the total compensation amount to be doubled, tripled or more.
Police reports are an important way of proving fault and therefore negligence following a crash. If the police report indicates that the other driver was texting or otherwise distracted at the moment the accident occurred, you are entitled to demand punitive damages.
As with all legal matters, proving negligence is a complex undertaking requiring accident reconstruction, the presentation of evidence and eyewitness testimony, and a broad knowledge of California case law and precedents. Personal injury lawyer Eliot Reiner of Sacramento brings these skills to every distracted driving case he handles. The results for clients have been overwhelmingly positive.