Drivers are driving with all sorts of distractions today; in our previous post, we discussed the recent AT&T research study results which had shocking admissions from phone users on all the ways that they are using their cell phones while driving — regardless of all the warnings and public campaigns on the dangers of Distracted Driving.
As you drive to work, home, school, the shopping mall, or the grocery store, consider all the traffic surrounding you.
You cannot know which vehicles are being driven responsibly and which are being driven by drivers distracted because they are checking their e-mail, taking selfies, or texting on their phones.
Accidents are going to happen as a result of this behavior, that’s a given. So, if you or a loved one is in a traffic accident where you suffer serious injuries in the crash, then how are you going to prove that the other driver was busy on their phone and caused the crash?
It won’t be easy. The other driver isn’t likely to admit that they were driving while distracted by their phone. It will be important for you to have the help of an experienced personal injury law firm and that firm’s expertise not only in the law but in accident investigations to get to the truth of what has happened.
1. Accident Investigation
Professional investigators know how to check into an accident and determine what caused the crash. They use scientific analysis (rate of speed, angle of path, etc.) to confirm what driver failed in properly driving their vehilce. They also have the ability to recreate the event using computer technology. Their studies can show which car failed to brake, which car went through the intersection without slowing down, which car was speeding, etc.
These experts can take the witness stand, if need be, and explain to the jury what has happened and what driver caused the crash.
2. Discovery of Phone Records
Lawyers are able to demand documents and records be turned over to them (and their clients) as part of the formal “discovery” process in a civil injury case. Subpoenas may need to be served, and court orders are sometimes required to force things, but the law allows a plaintiff’s injury attorney to get access to things like the phone records of the driver suspected of distracted driving at the time of the crash. The details of those cell phone records are vital to proving distraction caused the accident.
2. Police Reports and Officer Testimony
Police officers at the scene of the accident may also be important to proving that distracted driving caused the accident. These officers will have completed their own accident reports, which can be used in the civil injury case. Additionally, the police officer may be a witness to the event and provide helpful expert testimony on what caused the accident.
Law enforcement are trained to look for distracted driving as a cause of any traffic accident because driving while distracted by a phone is against the law in Indiana and Illinois:
All drivers are banned from using their cell phones as hand-held. Hands free is still allowed except for novice drivers.
Learner’s permit holders and drivers under the age of 19 years (novice drivers) are not allowed to use their phones at all (hands held or hands free).
School bus drivers are not allowed to use their cell phones at all.
All drivers are not to text while driving.
No use of cell phones by any driver in a school zone or a construction zone.
Primary enforcement for all offenses.
There is no ban for hand-held cell phones or hands free phones for drivers unless they are new to driving.
Drivers under the age of 18 years (novice drivers) are not to use phones at all (hand-held or hands free).
No drivers are to text while driving.
Primary enforcement for all offenses.