Proving a Driver was Distracted When They Hit You

distracted driver causing accident 

Distracted Drivers Cause Thousands of Accidents Each Year, Did One Cause Yours?

          After an accident, one of the things that are generally investigated is who and what caused the crash.  Was the other driver drunk?  Did the other driver break any driving rules or regulations?  Was the other driver distracted?

          Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of car accidents across the nation and West Virginia.  In fact, some reports claim that over 25% of all accidents are caused by the distraction of a cell phone alone.  

          Other types of distractions besides cell phone use include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Reading
  • Grooming
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Daydreaming
  • Passengers
  • "Rubbernecking" at other accidents, people, etc.…

So how do you prove that the driver that hit you was distracted before they slammed into your vehicle? 

          One of the best ways to determine if a driver was distracted is to review the evidence at the scene.  Most people do not immediately think to gather evidence from the scene after an accident, especially if it is serious.  In cases of serious accidents, expect law enforcement to take a lead role in any investigation.  But there are still some things that you or a family member can do to help determine if the driver that hit you was distracted.

          Taking pictures at the scene can be one way to help determine if the driver was distracted.  Pictures of tire marks, photos of the inside of the other driver's vehicle and even videos of the scene can assist in determining what may have distracted the driver.  You might find a cell phone sitting on the passenger seat or maybe opened fast food containers, or makeup packages were strewn throughout the car.   

          Another method is with eyewitness testimony.  Make sure that you or the responding officer gathers the name and contact information of those that witnessed the accident.  A witness's testimony can go a long way to prove what caused the accident, including any distractions.  It is especially important if the witnesses are claiming that they saw the other driver using the phone right before the accident.  

What if there are no witnesses or pictures of the accident scene, but you still believe the driver was distracted?

          If that is the case, there are a few other options that can help you in proving that the driver was distracted. 

          One additional method is through law enforcement.  The other driver when giving their statement may be truthful and identify what caused them to hit you.  We have seen some drivers provide statements to law enforcement that reveal they were adjusting the radio, they were looking at their phone or even that they were just not paying attention.  Keep in mind, that this is not always the case.  Some drivers that cause accidents may sometimes "flub" the truth a bit to either save face or to avoid being charged with a crime.

          If the other driver does not openly admit their error, you can always take the step of hiring an expert.  Although sometimes expensive, hiring an expert may be the only way to prove that the other driver was somehow distracted.  The expert can be one that recreates the accident or one that begins to investigate cell phone use of the driver.  When you use your phone either to text, tweet or even look at websites, there is always an electronic trail.  An experienced investigator can help you identify what the other driver was doing right before causing the accident.  This may be the only way you can show that the other driver was distracted and their actions directly caused the accident.

Ok, now that you have proven the other driver was distracted before the accident, what do you do?

          Once it is established that the other driver was distracted and that resulted in the accident and the injuries that you received, it is essential that you consult with an attorney.  Although you may have single-handedly proven to your friends and family that the other driver was distracted, the more difficult part will be to show it to the insurance company or if necessary a court of law.  

          Speaking to a lawyer that has experience in distracted driving accidents will be essential when attempting to prove that the other driver was in fact distracted.  The lawyer will be able to help you identify specific evidence to use and ensure that it was gathered legally and can be used in a court of law if necessary.  Speak to a lawyer that offers a FREE consultation and will review your claim and outline the potential options that are available to you.  As in gathering evidence of the distraction, it is also vital for you to collect information on your rights and what will best help you move forward.

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