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How Can an Attorney Prove an At-Fault Driver Was Distracted?

Jul 28, 2020 | Auto Accidents

woman looking at phone while driving

Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous and is known to lead to significant injuries and fatal car crashes. If you were injured by a distracted driver in Virginia, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages.

But how can you prove that the other driver was distracted during the accident? Proving this happened is critical to the success of your claim.

Below, we discuss several ways an attorney could help you prove that a driver was texting, eating, drinking, or distracted in another way when he or she hit you. While building a strong case against a distracted driver can be difficult, our legal team knows how to investigate and collect evidence to help bolster your claim for compensation. An initial consultation with us is free, with no obligations involved.

Evidence That May Demonstrate Liability

If you have a valid claim and decide to move forward, there are multiple sources of evidence that we could use to help demonstrate that the crash was potentially caused by distracted driving, such as: 

The Police Report

It is always important to contact the police after a car accident, especially if you suspect distracted driving. The police officer will examine the accident scene and develop a report of his or her initial findings. Some findings that may provide compelling evidence to support your claim include:

  • The officer’s own observations of distracted driving
  • How fast the other driver was driving when the crash happened
  • Whether the other driver hit the brakes
  • The at-fault driver’s own admission of being distracted
  • Statements from other drivers, passengers, pedestrians or witnesses
  • What the officer found on the driver’s cellphone

Photos and Video of the Crash Scene

Photos and video footage taken at or close to the time of the crash might suggest that the other driver was distracted. Pictures showing a lack of tire or brake marks could serve as proof that the other driver failed to hit the brakes because he or she was most likely distracted. Capturing any vehicle damage could also help establish that the other driver never swerved before impact. 

Video footage from traffic cameras, people in the vicinity, or surveillance cameras from nearby businesses may have recorded the at-fault driver using a cellphone or engaging in other distracting behaviors at the time of the crash. Distracted drivers often get “caught on camera” without realizing it.

Speaking with Witnesses

Other people might be willing to offer testimony about what they saw at the scene of the accident. Potential witnesses could include your passengers, the other driver’s passengers, bystanders or pedestrians within the vicinity, or people in other vehicles. They may have noticed the at-fault driver texting, reaching for items, adjusting the radio or GPS, or otherwise not paying attention. Requesting statements from these witnesses could serve as proof of driver distraction and help strengthen your claim.

Driver Cellphone Records

Your attorney may be able to subpoena the other driver’s cellphone records, which could establish that the driver was texting or talking on the phone at the time of the crash. Cellphone records would also show the exact time and date of this activity.

In some cases, the responding police officer will inspect or seize a cellphone at the accident scene, which could provide additional evidence needed to help prove that other driver was distracted.

Our Richmond car accident lawyers are prepared to use cellphone records to establish that the driver was reading a text message, typing a text message, or was browsing on the web at the time of the crash.

Social Media Interactions

Other forms of evidence that leave an electronic trail are social media interactions. If the other driver was using social media at the time of the crash, this activity might be logged and timestamped.

Your attorney may decide to hire an expert to find electronic evidence of distracted driving, such as him or her posting a message or uploading a photo or video on a social media platform to bolster your claim.

Learn more about how social media impacts claims after a car accident.

Virginia Laws on Distracted Driving

Virginia law currently prohibits reading or sending text messages while driving and using cellphones while driving in work zones. However, a new law (House Bill 874), which was passed and will go into effect on January 1, 2021, will prohibit all drivers from holding a handheld cellphone will driving.

Traffic penalties will remain the same. Drivers using a cellphone while driving will be fined $125 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $250 for violations in a work zone, regardless of whether it is the driver’s first offense. In Virginia, texting while driving is also still a 3-point offense for non-commercial vehicles.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

If you were injured in a car accident and you suspect that it may have been caused by a distracted driver, there may be evidence to help support your claim for compensation. Our licensed lawyers at Geoff McDonald & Associates know what it takes to build a strong case on your behalf. We fight to maximize compensation for our clients, having recovered over $400 million on their behalf.

Our consultations are free and there are no upfront fees for our services. We only get paid if you do.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 866-369-9051.

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