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How Can You Prove Another Driver Was Distracted?

How Can You Prove Another Driver Was Distracted? Distracted driving is a dangerous behavior that people often participate in when behind the wheel. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this type of behavior led to over 3,500 fatalities in the United States in 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that 39 percent of students in high school admitted to emailing and texting while behind the wheel within the past month in 2019. Some of the most common driving distractions include drinking, eating, talking on the phone, texting, surfing the web, putting on makeup, looking in the mirror, changing the radio, and reaching for an item in the vehicle.

While it may seem difficult to prove that another driver was distracted and caused your car accident, it is not impossible with an experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled Phoenix car accident attorney from Plattner Verderame, PC. Here are five important steps that we will take to prove the other driver was distracted:

1.     Obtain the driver’s cell phone records

Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving because the individual must type and read a text message, which takes their eyes and mind off the road. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, the individual is thinking about the message they either sent or received. This may lead to running off the road, colliding with another vehicle or object, or missing important signs and traffic signals.

The good news is that it is possible to prove that another driver was on their cell phone right before the car accident happened. A Phoenix car accident lawyer from Plattner Verderame, PC will subpoena the individual’s cell phone company to access the phone records that may indicate that they were texting or talking on the phone before the accident. We also look at their social media accounts to see if the individual was emailing, tweeting, making a post, looking at a video, or messaging.

2.     Review the police reports

No matter how minor you think your injuries or property damage are, it is critical that you always call 9-1-1 after being involved in a car accident. A police officer will arrive at the scene, assess the damage, speak with those involved, take a statement, and then make a report. While a police report cannot be used as sole evidence, it can assist you with proving that the driver was at fault and that distracted driving may have been a factor.

When your attorney looks over the police report, they will learn important information such as the speed when the crash occurred, the direction of the vehicles, the damage to the vehicles, any objects in the road, and how the parties involved acted when interviewed.

3.     Investigate the scene of the car accident

Your Phoenix distracted driving lawyer will travel to the scene of the accident to investigate and look for any key evidence that might be beneficial to your claim. They will look at the direction that the vehicles were traveling, the position that the vehicles were in when the officer arrived, any objects in the road that may have contributed to the accident, tire tracks indicating that the driver slammed on brakes (or made no attempt to stop at all), and more. The attorney will also take photographs of the scene as well as request video surveillance footage that may show significant details of the accident.

Next, they will assess the damage to the vehicles as this is very important. The vehicle damage can indicate how the impact occurred, which may be key to establishing if the driver ever tried to avoid the crash by slamming on brakes or attempting to swerve their vehicle. If they did not, this can be used as proof to show that the driver was too distracted to realize that they were about to crash into another vehicle.

4.     Find an eyewitness to provide a statement

There may have been people around who saw your accident occur. These are eyewitnesses. An eyewitness may be a driver, pedestrian, bicyclist, bystander, or construction worker who was close to the scene of your accident. It may also be a passenger in your vehicle or the other vehicle. As a result, they have the ability to give a statement about what they saw during the accident. An eyewitness can explain if they noticed the other driver on their phone, messing with the radio, or talking with a passenger before the accident occurred. This can help you prove that distracted driving was a factor in your accident.

Note: eyewitness testimony should be recorded quickly, because memories can degrade over time. This is one reason why hiring an attorney quickly is beneficial: the sooner we can start talking to folks who were at the scene of the accident, the better.

5.     Hire an expert witness to explain details of the accident

Expert witnesses have the knowledge and experience to look at your car accident, analyze it, and provide an explanation as to who was most likely at fault and what happened. When you hire an expert witness who has experience in car crashes, they will give their testimony to the court. This may include providing details about how the driver may have been distracted at the time of the accident based on their knowledge and experience when it comes to the type of accident you were involved in.

The laws on distracted driving in Arizona

Arizona has taken steps to combat distracted driving. In fact, the Arizona Department of Public Safety states that drivers are prohibited from texting and talking on their cellphones while driving. The only way they are allowed to answer a call is if their phone is in hands-free mode. This law includes cell phones, iPads, tablets, iPods, and other hand-held devices.

If you have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, a Phoenix car accident lawyer from Plattner Verderame, PC is here to help you. We have what it takes to build a strong case against the driver and fight for your right to the compensation you are owed. Call our office or complete our contact form today to learn about the different ways we can assist you through this process. Our firm is based in Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona.