Proving Fault in a Distracted Driver Accident: Essential Steps and Evidence

Distracted driving is a widespread problem on Florida roads, leading to numerous accidents and even fatalities. Between smartphones, GPS devices, and other car distractions, it can sometimes be hard to prove who is really at fault in distracted driving accidents.

Keep reading to learn more about how an injury attorney proves fault and recovers compensation in a distracted driving case.

People and policeman at car accident scene

Understanding Distracted Driving

Distracted driving occurs when the driver's attention is diverted from the main task of driving, which significantly increases the risk of an accident.

Distracted driving can be grouped into three categories:

  1. Visual distractions: Anything that takes the driver's eyes off the road, such as looking at a cell phone or checking a map.
  2. Manual distractions are activities that require the driver to take one or both hands off the steering wheel, such as eating, adjusting the radio, or applying makeup.
  3. Cognitive distractions: Anything that takes the driver's mental focus away from driving, such as thinking about work or having an exciting conversation.

Common distractions include texting, talking on a cell phone, eating, and applying makeup. According to the CDC, about nine people are killed, and over 1,000 are injured every day in the United States in crashes involving distracted drivers.

Distracted Driving Laws

There are strict laws to prevent accidents caused by distracted driving. The rules vary from state to state but generally focus on the following points:

  • Texting: Most states have laws prohibiting texting while driving, with penalties ranging from fines to license suspension.
  • Cell phone use: In some states, hand-held cell phone use is prohibited; novice and school bus drivers are restricted in others.
  • Food and other distractions: Although less common, some states have enacted laws restricting other forms of distracted driving, such as eating or grooming.

Drivers must know their state's distracted driving laws and prioritize safety by eliminating potential distractions.

Your attorney must establish negligence to legally prove a driver is at fault for distracted driving. Negligence is a legal term that means a driver fails to exercise reasonable care while operating a vehicle, resulting in an accident or injury.

In addition, we must also prove that the distraction was partially or entirely responsible for causing the accident.

Evidence Gathering

Gathering strong evidence plays a role in proving guilt in a distracted driving case. Below are some important pieces of evidence to consider when building your case:

  • Police report: The police report written after the accident can provide information about the circumstances of the accident and provide a preliminary assessment of fault. Ensure the report is properly completed soon after the accident to ensure optimal accuracy.
  • Witness testimony: Statements from witnesses can support your claim that the other driver was distracted during the accident. Collect the contact information of all witnesses at the accident scene so you can question them later.
  • Cell phone records: Cell phone records can be used to prove that the driver was talking on the phone or texting at the time of the accident. Your attorney can help you obtain these records through legal action.
  • Surveillance footage: Video footage from traffic cameras, nearby businesses, or personal surveillance cameras can provide visual evidence of the accident and the other driver's actions leading up to the accident.
  • Physical evidence: Items found in the vehicle, such as headphones or fast food, can prove that the driver was distracted. Photograph any physical evidence found at the scene of the accident.

Subpoenaing Electronic Device Records

In some cases, we may subpoena the driver’s cell phone records and other electronic records to prove whether or not the driver was actively using the device at the time of the accident. This might include obtaining:

  • Call records: Obtaining the driver’s call records can be crucial to proving that the driver was using his or her device at the time of the accident. These records can show the duration of calls, time stamps, and text messages exchanged before or during the accident.
  • Text message records: Similar to cell phone records, text message records can reveal whether the driver was texting immediately before the accident.
  • Social media activity: Any form of social media use while driving can be considered distracted driving. Gathering evidence of social media use during the accident can strengthen your case. In some cases, the activity may even be publicly available.
  • Video footage: Surveillance cameras or dashcam footage can provide important video footage of the accident. They can show the driver's behavior and the distractions that led to the accident. Check your dash cam recordings and look for possible surveillance cameras near the accident scene.

Eyewitness Accounts And Testimonies

Eyewitness accounts can be extremely helpful when establishing fault. If someone saw the driver engaging in a distracting activity before or during the accident, it is no longer a “he-said, she-said” situation. Try to gather contact information and signed statements from passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, or bystanders who witnessed the incident as soon as possible.

In some cases, eyewitnesses will have to testify in court. Their testimony can help prove that the driver was distracted during the collision.

Remember that a precise, concise, and convincing collection of evidence is crucial to proving fault in an accident involving a distracted driver. It’s important to document as much as possible after your accident and to provide all the information to your attorney.

Once you’ve finished seeking medical attention for your injuries after an accident, your first priority should be to seek experienced legal representation.

Choosing The Right Attorney

It's important that you choose a personal injury attorney who has verifiable experience with car accident lawsuits. You can verify an attorney’s experience by reading client reviews and case results online. An experienced attorney can:

  • Gather evidence of the driver's negligence
  • Access digital records to show whether the at-fault driver was using electronic devices
  • Negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement or insurance claim.

When looking for the right attorney, consider the following:

  • Track record in similar cases
  • Experience with distracted driving cases, specifically
  • Availability for a free consultation

Seeking Compensation

Your lawyer will help you recover compensation after a distracted driving accident in several ways:

  • Insurance claim negotiation: he will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to obtain the highest possible compensation.
  • Lawsuit: If the insurance company's settlement offer is inadequate, your attorney can file a lawsuit to obtain adequate compensation.
  • Identify all possible sources of compensation: In some cases, multiple parties may share responsibility for the accident, and your attorney will work to ensure that each party is held accountable.

Remember that compensation can cover various damages, such as

Speak To A Car Accident Attorney Today

If you need legal representation after being injured due to a distracted driver, contact Weinstein Legal Team today to speak with an attorney about your case. Our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t pay any fees unless we win your case.

Click here to schedule a free case review with an attorney today, or call us at 888.626.1108 to get started now.

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