How to Prove Distracted Driving Caused a Crash
Distracted driving car accidents are common occurrences, but when it comes to suing the driver for your injuries, you may need to provide evidence that the driver wasn't paying attention to the road.
Beyond texting while driving, distracted driving can include things like applying makeup, eating while driving, or driving with pets in your lap. So how can you show that another driver was distracted at the time of your accident?
Here are five potential ways to prove that distracted driving caused a crash:
- Police report or officer testimony. Police reports filed after the accident can detail the circumstances of the accident and may include a preliminary assessment of fault. As long as the police report is properly completed soon after the accident, it'll likely be admitted in court. So if you saw the other driver chatting on a cell phone before the crash, let the officer know. Better yet, if the officer witnessed the other driver engaging in distracting behavior, the officer can testify about this fact in court.
- The other driver admits it. Although it's advised not to admit fault or guilt after a car accident, some drivers may blurt out, "I'm so sorry, I was responding to a text when I ran the light!" While that may seem like a slam-dunk in your case if the other driver admits fault, it may not be admissible in court under hearsay rules. However, it may be used to support your case in general, especially if you're pursuing an out-of-court settlement.
- Witnesses. Witnesses can include bystanders who saw the accident occur or passengers in the vehicles at the time of the crash. When police are called to the scene after an accident, they can take witness statements. If your case goes to trial, you can also subpoena the witnesses to testify about any distracted-driving behaviors that they saw.
- Cell phone records. Text message records can be used in court to prove that the driver was using a cell phone at the time of the accident. While it's already illegal in most states to text while driving, having the phone records as proof is strong evidence in plaintiff's favor.
- Video or photos. Police dash cams, cell phone videos shot by drivers or passengers in other vehicles, and even surveillance cameras can catch distracted drivers red-handed. Those videos can likely be introduced in court. If nothing else, such videos can provide chilling reasons for why you shouldn't engage in distracted driving.
These are just a few ways you may be able to prove that distracted driving caused a crash, but an experienced car accident attorney in your area can give you more pointers for your particular case.
- Injured in an accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Texting and Driving: 3 Ways to Prove It (FindLaw's Blotter)
- 1 in 4 Car Crashes Involves Cell Phone Use: Report (FindLaw's Injured)
- Newer, Younger Drivers Easily Distracted: Study (FindLaw's Injured)
- Hands-Free Devices Distract Drivers: AAA Study (FindLaw's Injured)
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