Evidence That May Show a Driver was Texting Before a Crash

woman holding steering wheel looking at phoneIf you were injured in a car accident and suspect the at-fault driver was distracted by texting before the accident, you may be eligible to recover compensation. We recommend discussing your situation, including ways to prove your claim, with a qualified attorney who has a record of success with car crash cases.

Below, the Sacramento car accident lawyers at the Arnold Law Firm explain the dangers of distracted driving and how we may be able to prove texting while driving caused the crash.

California Ban on Texting and Driving

Texting – or even just holding a cell phone in your hand -- while driving has been illegal in California since 2017.

According to a press release from California District 20 Assemblyman Bill Quirk, there were 12 fatal crashes that were linked to handheld cellphone use in 2015. In addition, the California Highway Patrol issued more than 13,000 citations in the same year for reading, writing and sending texts while driving and 78,000 citations for using a cellphone while operating a vehicle.

Under state law, drivers can only perform single taps and swipes on a smartphone that is safely mounted on the vehicle’s windshield or dashboard.

Proving the Other Driver Was Texting

To obtain compensation for damages, your accident claim must include evidence of the other driver’s negligence. Your lawyer must also prove that the damages you sustained were the direct result of the other driver’s negligent behavior, such as texting while driving.  There are several types of evidence that may help prove distracted driving.

Cellphone Records

Since using a cellphone while driving in California is against the law, obtaining evidence of cellphone usage may effectively support your claim. However, the other driver’s cellphone company will generally refuse to release these records without a court order obtained by your attorney.

Police Report

As soon as it is safe to do so, call law enforcement to the accident scene. The officer will review the scene and try to determine what caused the crash. If you saw the other driver on his or her phone, tell the officer. If the police officer has reason to believe texting and driving was a factor in your crash, he or she is likely to note it on the police report.

Eyewitness Statements

Eyewitness statements can also be very important. If there were witnesses to the accident, collect their name and contact information before they leave the scene. It is possible another driver or someone standing nearby saw the at-fault driver looking down at his or her phone.

Camera Footage

Your lawyer can determine whether there were cameras in the area at the time of the crash. He or she may be able to obtain this footage to help prove your case.

New Technology: The Textalyzer

A new device is being developed to help police learn whether a driver was texting and driving while at the accident scene.

The textalyzer is a digital roadside test which would allow officers to determine if the driver sent a text, email or performed any other activity on his or her phone, similar to the breathalyzer, which is used to determine whether a driver is intoxicated.

Refusing to submit to a textalyzer test might result in penalties, such as a suspended license, similar to what happens if drivers refuse a breathalyzer test. Critics claim the test would violate the Fourth Amendment prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures, while supporters say distracted driving needs to be treated as seriously as driving while impaired.

Discuss Your Situation with a Qualified Attorney

If you were injured in a collision that was caused by a distracted driver who was using his or her cellphone, it is important to discuss your claim with a qualified attorney. Victims who handle these types of cases on their own tend to receive undervalued settlement offers from insurance companies.

The Arnold Law Firm has been holding at-fault parties liable for damages for over 40 years while recovering millions in compensation on behalf of our past clients. We charge zero upfront costs to discuss whether you may qualify for financial compensation. You do not pay us for our services unless we obtain compensation for you.

Call us today (916) 777-7777 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.