How To Prove a Negligent Driver Was Texting and Driving
The combination of texting and driving has become a real problem throughout the U.S. Distracted driving, the category into which hand-held cellphone use, texting, and any other form of electronic communication fall, is illegal in Illinois. However, fines of $150 or less per offense don’t deter many motorists, which explains why you’ll regularly see your fellow Marion drivers operating their vehicles looking down at or using their phones any moment they can do so.
If you’re involved in a car accident here in Illinois, you may already know that you can hold an at-fault motorist liable for any injuries you suffered in the crash. There’s one caveat, though. You have to prove their negligence resulted in you becoming hurt.
How do you prove that a motorist who struck you was distracted before your accident occurred? You can take some steps to prove a negligent driver was texting and driving, which we’ll outline throughout the remainder of this article.
Evidence That Can Help Determine Fault in a Texting and Driving Accident
It’s unlikely that any single piece of evidence will definitively prove that a motorist was texting and driving before your crash. However, each item you can produce makes it increasingly challenging for a motorist or their insurer to deny liability for an accident. Some of the most valuable pieces of evidence our Prince Law Firm attorneys would say that you can amass include:
One of the most critical pieces of evidence that you can get your hands on following an accident that you attribute to another motorist’s texting and driving is their cell phone records.
You will likely need to subpoena these records from the other driver’s cell phone carrier. You may want to have a car accident lawyer aid you in requesting these records if you don’t have legal training to understand the process, what paperwork you need to file, and with whom to secure these here in Marion, IL.
The records will show whether or not the other driver was using their cell phone at the time of the accident and can also provide other helpful information, such as the alleged at-fault motorist’s location when they were using their cell phone.
While cell phone records can be valuable in proving negligence in an Illinois auto accident case, eyewitness testimony also can. Whenever possible, you should get out of your car after an accident so that you can ask if there were any witnesses to it. You can have a passenger in your vehicle that is uninjured or a loved one that you summon to the crash scene do this for you if you’re unable to inquire yourself.
You may want to ask that they stick around for law enforcement to arrive to provide their account of what happened and contact information. At the very least, you will want to get their contact information yourself if they seem to be eager to leave.
Witness testimony can significantly shift liability discussions, especially if the witnesses saw the other driver looking down at their cell phone just before the accident occurred.
Photos and Videos
Many individuals ride around with their phones filming the roadway nowadays. Bystanders may be filming a social media video, interacting with a loved one on a video call, or using their camera to memorialize their day for future reference.
You never know if your footage or a witness’ captured photographic or video evidence of a motorist texting or at the very least holding their phone before or during the crash. If this evidence exists and you can get your hands on it, it could also affect liability determinations in your case.
Security Camera Footage
If the accident occurred near a Marion, IL business or other location with security cameras, your attorney might want to obtain the footage from those cameras. It may also shed light on a motorist’s unlawful cell phone use before the accident.
If you summoned a police officer to the scene to document your accident, then they undoubtedly created a report with their findings. It’s not uncommon for law enforcement to ask each motorist for their account of what happened leading up to the crash as they determine who was perhaps at fault for the collision and if they should issue any citations for traffic violations.
One question law enforcement officers often ask when they suspect some kind of reckless driving contributed to the crash is whether they had been doing the following leading up to it:
- Talking on their phone, texting, or using the internet
A police officer may also ask whether additional distractions aside from those listed above affected a driver’s ability to focus all their attention on the road.
Some motorists may have a guilty conscience or be ignorant to the fact that texting and driving is dangerous and unlawful in Illinois and admit to doing it. At the same time, an officer may suspect a driver is being untruthful when saying they weren’t texting and driving.
A police officer may request their consent to review their phone and, if they give it, confirm their suspicion or prove that a negligent driver was texting and driving. This is the type of information lawyers look at when reviewing a crash report—evidence of citations and the alleged at-fault motorist’s account of what occurred.
The Role an Attorney Plays in Your Texting and Driving Accident Case
Texting and driving can cause just as much if not more destruction to both vehicle and motorist than drunk driving accidents can. Prince Law Firm should be second on your list of people to reach out to or see (after a doctor) if you’ve suffered injuries in a crash and hope to secure enough compensation to ensure you can receive the best possible medical care.
Time is of the essence when it comes to preserving evidence, as described above. Our firm’s attorneys know what it takes to get your hands on evidence and how valuable it can be to prove a negligent driver was texting and driving in your case. Reach out to us now to get that process started. Your initial consultation is free.