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How does texting on the phone affect an accident and damages(both property and injury)?

Santa Monica, CA |

I got tboned by a car that ran red light while the driver was fiddling with a cell phone(seen by neutral witness). More than likely he was speeding due damages sustained. Car is totalled and insurance company is offering "fair market value" not factoring in aftermarket upgrades(stereo,tint,custom pedals). Is there a point where negligence levels allows for recovery of the replacement value of the property?

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Texting while driving is against the law in CA. If a driver of a vehicle fails to drive in a prudent manner for the given conditions and causes an accident with injuries and property damage, the driver can be found liable for their negligence. If texting while driving was a contributing factor in the negligent driver's actions, liability will be easier to prove.

Check out this link to the DMV's website regarding the laws on texting while driving:

In answer to your second question, there is no point where a higher level of negligence will create a greater likelihood of recovering more for property damage, like aftermarket upgrades. With respect to property damage, whether caused by intentional, reckless or negligent acts, the measure of recovery is the same.

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The negligence level does not, as a legal matter, change the recovery rights as to replacement value. However, as a practical matter, it should allow you to take a tougher stance with the insurance company. Good Luck


If you look at negligence like a pie, you would want to show that the other driver was 100% negligence and you 0% negligent. The other person texting while driving imputes negligence on their part and may reduce or eliminate any claims of negligence on your part. That helps you increase your argument for damages for non-economic damages.


If the other driver was texting, then you have a stronger case, but it wouldn't affect the replacement value of your property.

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The degree of negligence does not increase the damages that you are entitled to. As far as the after market upgrades are concerned, if you are able to provide receipts for the items that you purchases, you should be able to negotiate additonal value to the fair market value offer on the vehicle.

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