How Do You Prove a Driver was Distracted?
Distracted driving is a huge problem, with more and more drivers paying attention to their mobile devices and other distractions rather than what’s on the road.
However, distracted driving includes more than just mobile devices. Drivers who are eating, drinking, grooming, turning the radio on or off, talking to passengers in the car or daydreaming are also considered to be distracted while driving.
It doesn’t really matter what a driver is doing while distracted because either way, it can be deadly. Distracted driving may cause drivers to swerve, speed, brake hard, follow other drivers too closely or blow through stoplights and signs while on the road. Sadly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, more than 2,800 people were killed in distracted driving accidents. These accidents claimed the lives of 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists.
If you were driving, walking or biking when a driver hit you, then distracted driving may be to blame. However, it isn’t always so easy to prove that a driver was distracted, and you’ll need to pursue different avenues in order to show that this was indeed the case.
Here are some ways in which you can go about proving distracted driving was to blame for your accident.
Take Photos of the Accident – If you take photos of an accident right after it happens, then a personal injury lawyer can examine these photos and see whether or not they prove a driver may have been distracted. For instance, perhaps you took a photo of the driver’s car and there was a cell phone on the passenger’s seat. There may be a takeout bag on the passenger’s seat or some personal grooming supplies as well. Even if a cell phone or other items aren’t in the car, your lawyer could look at other evidence in the picture and see if it gives them any clues as to what happened.
Ask for Video Footage – There may have been witnesses standing by who took videos of the accident as it occurred. More likely, there were cameras around where the accident occurred, such as traffic light cameras and cameras from nearby businesses. You could always approach the owners of these cameras and ask if they have any footage of the accident.
Ask Witnesses What They Saw – Any witnesses who were standing nearby may be able to tell you whether or not a driving was distracted. When you’re still at the scene, collect their statements as well as their contact information in case you need to follow up with them for clarification.
Get Expert Witness Testimony – An expert witness could look at the details of the case and determine whether or not a driver was distracted while on the road. An expert witness could include a professional commercial driver, for instance, who has extensive experience driving. Reconstructions of the entire accident is possible. Your lawyer will know who to contact.
Request a Police Record – If there is a police record of the incident, the driver may have told the police that they were distracted while driving. You or your attorney can call the police and get the record so that you can review it and the evidence they took down.
Request Cell Phone Records – If you believe the driver was talking on their cell phone, texting, using apps or browsing the internet at the time of the accident, then your personal injury attorney can request cell phone records to see if there is any record that they were using their phone.
Look at Vehicle Data – Some cars will log vehicle data and be able to tell us when a driver was speeding or partaking in some other dangerous activity when driving. You might be able to use that information to prove your case.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
A personal injury attorney will be able to help you collect evidence, gather medical, police and cell phone records and bring important things to light in your claim against a distracted driver. They will also let you know how to proceed with your case. It’s best to call them as soon as the accident happens so that you know what to do to make your case as strong as possible.
For instance, a personal injury attorney may tell you to go to the hospital right away after an accident, especially if you suffered serious injuries. If you only have minor injuries, you can stick around the scene of accident, call the police, collect, the driver’s information, talk to witnesses and take photos. Even then, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to get attention for your injuries and to be checked. If the driver’s insurance company reaches out to you for any reason, your personal injury lawyer should be the one to respond.
After your doctor tells you about your injuries and how to treat them, your lawyer will make sure you’re getting that treatment and starting to heal. You may be able to go to the doctor for as long as you need to, until you’re feeling better. Once all of your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer will discuss your case with the driver’s insurance company and possibly negotiate a settlement so that you don’t have to go to court. They will also be prepared to prosecute the claim in court, if necessary.
Compensation for a Distracted Driving Accident
You may receive compensation for your accident that will include money to cover your medical bills and any damage to your car, bike or other possessions. You could also receive money for your pain and suffering from the accident, as well as any lost earnings or earning capacity that has been affected.
Your lawyer will receive a percentage from the settlement collected, so you don’t have to worry about paying for a retainer or coming up with money for the lawyer.
Finding a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer to help you, find one who has experience with distracted driving auto accident cases. Your lawyers should be able to explain their strategy to you so you can understand what the best course of action is for your case.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’re ready to pursue your personal injury claim, then call the personal injury attorneys at Heiting & Irwin at 951-682-6400, or contact our office online at hilegalgroup.com to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible. We can get you the compensation you deserve in your distracted driving case.