How Much Does Distracted Driving Really Cost?

ELI5: Negligence

What if sending a text cost you tens of thousands of dollars? Would you still send it? Well, in 2021, the texts you send while driving really could cost you thousands of dollars—even if, miraculously, no one else gets injured.. Most of the time, when people are checking their phones while driving, they aren’t thinking about the consequences of their actions. However, if you’re texting while driving, you need to be aware of just how much it can cost you.


If you cause a car accident, your insurance rates will probably go up. However, depending on the circumstances, your insurance provider, and your insurance policy, your rates may go up even higher than they normally would if you cause an accident while texting and driving. In fact, depending on your location, you may see a steep increase in your insurance rate after only getting a ticket for texting while driving. Though the average ticket for texting while driving will increase your rates by 23%, in some states the ticket alone could increase your rates by 45%. According to the same statistics, Utah drivers who have been ticketed for texting while driving pay an average rate of $329 more than those who have a clean driving record.


If the damages are serious enough, there will likely be a lawsuit filed against you. Though your insurance company will pay for your attorney, and your insurance policy will pay for any judgment against you within policy limits, they will not pay you for the loss of income you’ve sustained during the court proceedings. If you’re the defendant in a civil suit, you will almost certainly have to miss work to meet with your attorney, testify at a deposition, and attend the trial. If you don’t have vacation, or paid time off, you may have to go without pay while working through your legal issues.


A lot of people believe that they cannot, or will not, be sued if they aren’t swimming in assets. However, if the jury’s verdict exceeds your insurance policy’s limits, you may be liable for the excess judgment. This means that if your policy only covers $100,000, but the jury has decided that you owe the defendant $150,000, you are personally liable for the remaining $50,000 that your insurance policy did not cover. If you cannot afford the excess, your assets may be seized or liquidated in order to help cover the costs. Your wages may also be garnished if that’s what it would take to satisfy the judgment. Most people believe that attorneys will not go after someone who doesn’t have the financial means to pay the excess judgment. However, that is not always the case.


So far, we’ve only covered the cost of a civil suit. Depending on the circumstances, you may also have to go through a criminal trial for texting while driving. And, your insurance company will not pay for your defense attorney in a criminal trial. The cost of a criminal defense attorney can easily exceed $10,000. And, depending on the circumstances, there’s a wide range of things you could potentially be charged with. The charges you could face if you injure, or kill, someone while texting and driving, can range from reckless driving to manslaughter. If your actions are egregious enough, you may even face murder charges.


You don’t want potential employers to be able to pull up your mugshot alongside a news article about how you killed another person while texting and driving. Texting while driving not only shows a reckless disregard for your own safety, but a disregard for the safety of everyone else on the road as well. News outlets may use your name when reporting fatal, or serious, accidents that resulted from you texting and driving. Not only will the death, or serious injury, of another person weigh on your conscience for the rest of your life, but the details of it may follow you wherever you go.


At Moxie Law Group, we help victims of distracted drivers get the compensation they need in order to get back on their feet. If you were injured by a distracted driver, we can help walk you through your options during a free consultation. As a personal injury firm, our goal is to provide compensation to the injured while keeping our community safe. If you’ve got questions about filing your personal injury claim, contact Moxie Law Group today.

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