Proving distracted driving in a personal injury case
In many personal injury cases involving car, truck and motorcycle accidents, whether a driver was distracted leading up to the accident is an important consideration in assessing fault and liability.
According to the National Safety Council, an alarming 26% of accidents are caused by cellphone use.1 In the United States, 46 states, including Georgia, have laws prohibiting texting while driving.2 Despite the presence of these laws, when building a personal injury case, proving that distracted driving led to the accident is not always easy. Here are several ways it can be done.
Police report filed after the accident
A police report is one of the most important pieces of record concerning an accident. As we’ve covered in the past, you should always take pictures and record as much information as you can following an accident. The more information you collect, the better. This includes telling the officer who is filing the report everything you can remember. If you saw the other driving talking on their phone, or looking down at their phone, mention it.
Traffic and surveillance cameras
In many high-traffic, urban areas like Atlanta, traffic cameras and private surveillance cameras are running 24/7. Sometimes they may record a driver using their phone prior to the accident. Also, if you have a dash cam that was recording at the time of the accident, it likely can be used as evidence in court.
Cell phone records
Many people are surprised to learn that in some cases, cell phone records can be subpoenaed in order to prove distracted driving. Cell phone carriers have detailed records of all text message and data usage, and these records can be used to show exactly when a text message was sent.
Additionally, it’s important to note that according to Georgia law, it is against the law to use a cell phone while driving “to write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data.” 3
So while we often speak of the dangers of texting while driving, the law covers not only text messaging, but all Internet data, including use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. In many cases, these records can be used in a personal injury case. A Facebook post or Tweet made from a mobile device at the time of the accident is a strong indication of distracted driving.
If you have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, call the personal injury attorneys of Wood & Craig, located at 1201 Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia at 404-888-9962 for a free consultation to review your case.