In 2014 an estimated 3,179 people were killed and another 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents as a result of distracted drivers. Astonishingly, a statistic produced by the National Safety Council revealed that more than one in four of those auto accidents were attributed to driver cell phone use while behind the wheel. Essentially, drivers get consumed by their conversations and stop paying attention to the road and therefore cause an auto accident. Needless to say, car accidents resulting from distracted drivers occur far to often. If you suffer a personal injury because of a distracted driver, proving that the driver wasn’t paying attention to the road will be crucial to your claim.
Aside from texting or talking on the phone, distracted driving may also include activities such as eating while behind the wheel, applying makeup, driving and “playing” DJ, as well as any other activity that could potentially take the driver’s eye off the road. So, how do you provide evidence proving that a distracted driver caused an accident? Below are just a few potential methods in which an experienced personal injury attorney will attempt to prove your claim:
Following a motor vehicle collision, the responding officer will file a police report documenting the circumstances of the incident. Within the police report may be included an initial assessment of fault. In this regard, if you witnessed the other driver talking on the phone immediately preceding the accident, let the responding police officer know so it can be included. While the police report may not be admitted into the civil court proceedings, it can lend a hand in attorney negotiations by providing leverage in your dispute.
While most of us know that we should refrain from admitting fault of guilt after a car accident, some drivers occasionally blurt out things like: “I am so sorry! I dropped my phone and looked down for one second and didn’t see you stop.” While this would seem like a slam-dunk in proving fault, it must be noted that this admission may not be admissible in civil court under hearsay rules. That said, if the admission were included in the police report, your attorney would gain a bit of leverage, especially in pursuing an out-of-court settlement.
Witnesses can include passengers who were involved in the auto accident as well as bystanders who saw the accident. Upon arriving at the scene of the accident, the police will want to gather witness statements as well as contact information to better access just who exactly was at fault. In most car accident scenarios, witness, and witness statements, are a valuable asset for attorneys when arguing your claim. They provide written viewpoints as to what took place and can even be called upon at trial to testify in regards to any distracted driving behaviors that they saw.
It doesn’t take a lawyer to know that the best evidence usually comes in the form of video surveillance. Cell phone videos shot by a passenger or bystander, police dash cams, cameras mounted at the top of traffic lights or nearby buildings can all be utilized in court or out-of-court settlement conferences to bust distracted drivers red handed.
What some may not know is that attorneys can utilize cell phone records to prove that the suspected distracted driver was using their cellphone at the time of the accident. In such a case, it is important to log the time of the accident, report it to the responding police officer, and request that the time be included in the police report. Your lawyer will then collect cell phone records provided by the at-fault driver’s carrier, which can show time and durations of incoming and outgoing calls, timestamps on text messages, and data communications with satellites used in GPS features. By showing a correlation between the time of call or text and the auto collision, your attorney can make a strong argument suggesting that the car accident was in fact, caused by the distracted driver’s cell phone use.
If you have been injured in an auto accident due to a distracted driver, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Your lawyer will assist in determining if your case is eligible to recover compensation from the other parties that were involved in the collision. Give Torgenson Law a call at (602) 726-0747.