- Always call the police after an accident.
- Report to the police that you believe they were using their cellphone.
- Take pictures of the damage as well as traffic signs the other driver may have missed.
- Receive any medical car offered- even if you feel okay at the moment.
- Hire an attorney so they can subpoena the driver’s phone records.
The dangers of driving while intoxicated are well-publicized, but a new form of distracted driving could be even more deadly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08, which is considered legally intoxicated it almost every state. In fact, a collision is 23 times more likely to happen if the driver is texting. The likelihood of being hit by a driver who is texting gets greater every year, and 30% of car accidents are caused by drivers who admit to texting right before the accident.
But what about the drivers who will not admit it? In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a collision with a distracted driver, how do you prove that the other driver was texting and driving?
Is the driver who was texting liable?
Yes. In all 50 states, every driver has the legal obligation to look out for the well-being and safety of every other driver on the road. Intentionally engaging in an activity known to be dangerous, like texting and driving, is negligent conduct. That is, that driver has failed in their obligation to look out for the safety of other drivers.
When a car accident is caused by that driver’s negligence, the driver is legally responsible for the damage done to the victim. The courts have traditionally ruled that a driver who is texting and driving is negligent. As the victim of that driver’s negligence, you are entitled to retrieve compensation for all reasonable damages directly related to the accident.
What damages are “reasonable”?
Reasonable damages in the case of a negligent driver primarily include physical damage to property, bills, and any out of pocket expenses directly related to the accident. Repairs to the car’s engine, compensation for personal property damaged in the accident, physical therapy, rental car costs, and crutches are all considered reasonable damages. Intangible costs like mental anguish and emotional distress can also be considered reasonable damages.
Unreasonable damages might include the emotional distress of a family member, speculative future earnings, and other costs that cannot be reasonably tied directly to the accident.
How do I prove the driver was texting?
It does not matter if the negligent driver is liable if you do not have evidence that their negligence was the cause of the accident. The victim must prove that the other driver caused the accident and resulting damages due to their negligence; proof that the driver was texting while driving specifically is even better. Is cell phone use while driving illegal in your state? If so, the use of a phone may be sufficient evidence of guilt.
Always call the police after an accident. If you have reason to believe the other driver was texting, make sure to inform any responding officers of that. If the police are able to corroborate this, they may issue a traffic citation which will be recorded in the official police report of the incident. Take photographs of the scene to record damage, impact, and any traffic signs the other driver may have missed due to their distraction.
The most powerful proof that a driver was texting while driving is most likely their cell phone records. Not only can records show the time and location that someone was using their phone, but many companies can also now differentiate between speaking and texting. The driver’s cell phone company will not release these records without a court order; your lawyer will need to subpoena these documents for you.
Even if you feel alright immediately following the accident, accept any medical care offered at the scene and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Putting off treatment will make it more difficult to prove that any injuries you have sustained were the direct result of the accident. Make sure your doctor records exactly how you were injured in her records. Otherwise, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were pre-existing or occurred at some point after the accident.
Do I need an attorney?
Injury claims can be very difficult, and an experienced attorney has the resources to do extensive pretrial discovery and will work to secure the highest settlement possible for you. If your injuries are minor, like sprained muscles, you may be able to handle y
our own claim without issue. But if you have suffered more serious injuries or the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not accept liability, the aid of an experienced car accident attorney will be invaluable in making sure you receive the damages you deserve.
View the entire infographic here.What To Do If The Other Driver Was Texting & Driving?