Challenges of Building a Case Against a Distracted Driver

young woman on phone behind wheel
young woman on phone behind wheel

You may have seen the driver of the car that hit yours staring at his or her phone seconds before the collision. However, this is not enough to prove distracted driving. You will need additional evidence that backs up your statements.

But, short of video proof showing the other driver was distracted, how do you validate this type of case?

We discuss proof of a distracted driving crash below and why it is vital for victims of these accidents to seek experienced legal assistance. The Cleveland-based car crash lawyers at Friedman, Domiano and Smith have the resources and legal knowledge to investigate these types of crashes. We know how to prove distracted driving and can take steps to request video footage and cellphone records, if necessary.

Our attorneys have vast experience with car accident cases and are prepared to guide you through every step of a car accident claim.

Evidence That May Help Prove Distracted Driving

It is difficult to catch a distracted driver red-handed, unless you have video footage of the driver in the seconds before the crash, such as from a traffic camera, security camera or dash cam. Even if you saw the other driver staring at his or her phone or looking away instead of straight ahead, you will need additional evidence to back up your statements.

If the moments leading up to the crash were captured on video, another factor to consider is whether there is a process for obtaining that footage. Unless the footage is from the dashboard camera in your own vehicle, the other driver is unlikely to willingly hand over any footage from the dash cam in his or her vehicle. Your lawyer may need to subpoena it. There is also a formal process for obtaining footage from a traffic or security camera. One of the advantages of hiring an attorney is that he or she is well-versed in handling these things.

However, many distracted driving crashes are not caught on camera. That means many distracted driving crash victims must rely on other types of evidence to prove their cases. This evidence may include:

Data From the Vehicle’s Event Data Recorder

Newer vehicles often have event data recorders that take note of the driver’s activity. For example, these devices may note if the driver was adjusting the radio or other dashboard controls when the crash occurred. These devices also note the driver’s speed and steering inputs.

While the data from these devices may not directly prove distracted driving, it may help to infer distracted driving. For example, the recorder may say the driver did not hit the brakes in the seconds leading up to the crash. Drivers who are distracted often fail to hit the brakes before a crash. Lack of skid marks at the scene may further bolster the claim the at-fault driver was distracted.

Cellphone Records

Your attorney may be able to obtain cellphone records to determine whether the driver’s cellphone was in use at the time of the accident. For example, records may show the driver was making a phone call or sending or receiving a text message. Records may also show what apps the driver had open.

If the driver’s cellphone records revealed Internet activity at the time of the crash, such as the websites the driver was on, that history could help to support a claim. An expert witness may be able to help obtain metadata detailing the driver’s online activities.

Social Media Activity

Your attorney may review social media profiles to discover activity around the time of the crash. That activity may be logged or timestamped by the smartphone or the app.

Statements From Witnesses

Sometimes there may be other drivers or pedestrians who saw the crash and can speak to the at-fault driver’s actions before the collision. They may have seen the driver on his or her phone, looking away from the road or otherwise distracted.

Witnesses could also include passengers in your vehicle. However, insurance companies are going to view these people as biased – they may be friends or family members and are seen as having an interest in you receiving compensation. Their statements would need to be backed up by other witnesses or evidence.

Analysis by Expert Witnesses

Sometimes, despite having evidence, it is important to bring in one or more expert witnesses to prove a case. This is usually only needed in cases involving life-changing or fatal injuries.

Expert witnesses may include accident reconstruction specialists who are trained to apply their extensive knowledge in various disciplines to determine why a crash happened. For example, they may have been educated in physics and engineering. These experts are often former police officers who have significant experience investigating crashes.

An accident reconstruction expert may be able to show that distracted driving is the most likely cause of the crash because of damage to the vehicles, lack of skid marks and other factors.

Police Report

The police report often includes the responding officer’s assessment of the cause of the crash and who may be at fault. He or she will talk to witnesses and examine the vehicles involved. The report may say distracted driving is the likely cause of the crash.

Experienced Attorneys Ready to Help. Call Today

There are no upfront fees with our services and no fees while we work to pursue compensation. Our attorneys have recovered millions for crash victims and are ready to assist you with your car crash claim.

Give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation. This is an opportunity to meet with a licensed attorney to discuss how we may be able to assist you.

Friedman, Domiano and Smith. Call today: 216-621-0070.  


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