Posted in News on May 2, 2018
In 2016, 3,450 people in the United States died in accidents involving distracted driving. This very serious issue is making roadways across the country more dangerous. After a car accident, many people want to file personal injury claims against the other party. However, filing a claim also includes proving the defendant was liable for the incident. Proving distracted driving is more difficult than proving other driving issues. If you suffered an injury because of a distracted driver, it is important to know how to prove distracted driving.
Common Causes of Distracted Driving
Any activity or object that takes your eyes off the road constitutes distracted driving. However, some common causes occur more often than others:
- Using your cell phone
- People or things outside of the car
- Other people inside the car
- Using or reaching for an electronic device
- Eating or drinking
- Changing the music or temperature
Though the above instances are common causes of accidents, the most frequent cause of distracted driving accidents is drivers lost in thought. Minds wander, making it more difficult to focus on the road.
Police Report or Testimony
After the police arrive on the scene, they will gather facts to make a report of the incident. The report will detail the circumstances of the accident and any specifics that would be relevant to your claim. If you saw the other driver texting or looking down at something, tell the officer. The report will most likely include a preliminary assessment of fault, where the police officer includes his or her judgment of who was responsible for the accident. Assuming the police finish and submit the report soon after the accident, you can use it in court. If the police officer assessed that the other driver’s attention was not completely on the task of driving, it can be enough to prove your claim.
The Other Driver Admits Fault
The only foolproof way to prove distracted driving is the other driver’s admission of fault. It is generally a bad idea to admit any level of fault after an accident, so most people will not say anything. However, if the other driver admits he or she was texting or that something else was distracting in some way, you can use it in your claim. It may not automatically win the case for you, however, because the court could consider it hearsay, meaning that it is not admissible in court.
Anyone who saw the accident occur can be extremely helpful in proving a claim. Witnesses can see things that you were not able to see. If witnesses can attest to seeing the other driver distracted, you can get statements from them for your claim. Police officers will also often take witness statements when they are recording the accident and include them in the report.
Cell Phone Records
Your lawyer can gain access to cell phone records that can be solid proof that a driver was texting at the time of the accident. You can use the records in court to show that cell phone use distracted the defendant and thus is much more likely to be the cause of the accident.
Videos or Photos
Dash cams, cell phone videos, and any other photographic record of the accident can be great for proving that the accident occurred because of a distracted driver. If you can find a video or photograph of the defendant texting or doing makeup in the mirror, you will have solid proof of distracted driving. A lawyer can get access to traffic and store security camera videos or another driver’s dashcam video.