Distracted driving is one of the most serious threats on Vermont’s roads. Someone who is texting or talking on the phone is unable to drive safely. Other sources of distraction, such as food or drink, also take a hand off the steering wheel and eyes off the road. The risk of an accident goes up considerably when people are trying to multitask behind the wheel.
Distracted driving is a type of negligence and any motorist who causes a crash while distracted is liable to victims for compensation. AtLarson & Gallivan Law, we have brought many personal injury claims against distracted drivers. A key issue is evidence. It’s one thing to allege a driver was distracted but quite another to prove it. To receive a fair settlement, you need proof that a driver was not paying attention while driving. Below, our Vermont car accident lawyers identify some of the most critical pieces of evidence in these cases.
Cell Phone Records
If we suspect a motorist was on the phone, we can request cell phone records. These records will show whether the driver was using their phone, and we can pinpoint the seconds leading up to a crash. We might request the phone records from the driver or subpoena them from the cell phone carrier.
Do cell phone records always prove definitive evidence? Maybe not. As an example, the driver might have had their phone in their hand but not turned it on in the seconds before the collision. The record won’t show this, since the phone wasn’t in use. But phone records are often helpful, especially in conjunction with other evidence.
Witnesses could have seen the motorist distracted in the moments leading up to the collision. We might ask them to provide testimony, which establishes that the driver took their eyes off the road, even briefly.
You are a witness to your own accident, so please share with your attorney what you remember. You might have briefly seen the driver looking in the back seat in the split second before he slammed into you. This evidence is helpful.
Still, insurers might think you are offering self-serving testimony, so they don’t quite believe you. Other witness testimony would be helpful to bolster your claim. We might talk to:
- Passengers in your car
- Passengers in the car that hit you
- Occupants in other cars on the road near you
- Bystanders on the sidewalk
After a crash, talk to witnesses if possible. Request their name and some method of contacting them, such as email address. Your Vermont car accident attorney can follow up with them to pin down what they saw.
Admissions by the Driver
Drivers sometimes admit they were distracted by something when they were driving. For example, the driver might admit this fact to you as you wait for the police to arrive. Remember to write it down so you don’t forget it.
In other situations, a driver might make an admission in a deposition. This is a chance for your lawyer to ask the driver questions, which they answer under oath. The driver might freely admit they were fiddling with dials, reaching for a phone, or talking to their child in the back seat in the seconds before the collision. We can use these statements when negotiating or even later if we end up going to trial.
Certain physical evidence can help establish distracted driving. An obvious example is a driver who exits their vehicle with soup all over their chest. They were clearly eating soup before hitting you. The same is true if they have coffee all over their clothes.
When you look at the car, you might see a dog running around inside, which might have distracted the driver. Look for similar evidence.
Call Our Vermont Car Accident Lawyer for Assistance
Many accident victims are unsure of what to do following a crash. This is a stressful time, and having painful physical injuries doesn’t help matters. Accident victims are often unsure of what evidence they need to make a claim, or they don’t have time to go searching for it.
This is where Larson & Gallivan Law can be a big help. Our lawyers know what evidence is persuasive, and we know how to find it. Please call our local office at (802) 327-8458 if you want to chat with someone about your case. You can alsosubmit information online. We will schedule a time to meet to review your case and walk you through the different considerations for making a car accident claim.