How to prove who was at fault after a car accident caused by distracted driving
Distracted driving is everywhere on our roads. Since the advent of cellphones, it has become one of the leading causes of crashes in the United States. Handheld technology isn't just limited to phone calls and text messages. A slew of apps provide so many new options that it's difficult for many drivers to put their cellphones down.
Using cellphones while driving is illegal in the state of Illinois, yet many drivers do it anyways. Texting is one of the most common causes of distracted driving. Sending or reading a text message while driving at 55 mph is just as dangerous as driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. In addition, many drivers multitask, eat, drink and groom while driving.
How common is distracted driving?
There were 2,841 distracted driving fatalities report across the U.S. in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Out of those fatalities:
- 1,730 were drivers
- 605 were passengers
- 400 were pedestrians
- 77 were bicyclists
These are only the reported numbers of traffic fatalities. In some cases, there is very little evidence available to prove that a driver was distracted at the time of a crash. Confirming distracted driving crashes often depends on drivers who are responsible admitting it.
The problem is worse than many people think. There could be a distracted driver within your vicinity at any given moment. A 2019 study published in Bloomberg is a real eye-opener. The study found that for every 100 drivers on the road, there is at least one who is distracted by a cellphone 45-50 percent of the time. In addition, there are at least a few more who are distracted 30-45 percent of the time. For these drivers, using cellphones while driving is habitual.
The study also found that roughly 30 percent of drivers out of 100 are distracted by cellphones about five percent of the time while driving.
This study only accounted for those who participated in by downloading the TrueMotion app, which was used to monitor their cellphone use while driving. That doesn't account for all of the other drivers who are likely using cellphones or multitasking at any given time.
How is fault proven?
Proving fault in a distracted driving crash often requires a thorough investigation. The experienced Chicago car accident attorneys at Coplan + Crane can gather the following pieces of evidence to help you build a strong legal claim:
- A copy of the police report. If the driver who hit you admitted to driving distracted, that will likely be documented in the car accident report put together by police.
- Cellphone and electronic records. Your attorney can get a subpoena for the at-fault driver's cellphone records. These records may prove that the driver was using a cellphone at the time of your crash. In addition, social media posts can give clues that the other driver was distracted or admitted to causing the crash.
- Witness statements. A witness who stopped to help may have seen the at-fault driver texting, multitasking or swerving.
- Video footage. Sometimes the actions of distracted drivers are caught by surveillance cameras or dashcams. Video footage is often hard to come by and difficult to track down, but it often provides solid evidence.
If you were hurt in a crash, don't hesitate to contact our Chicago law firm to get started on your claim. We offer free and confidential case evaluations and operate on a contingency fee basis. That means, you don't pay any upfront costs for our services unless we win your case.