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Evidence in Distracted Driving Lawsuits

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Posted On 02.04.13 by in Auto Accidents

Many of our Maryland and West Virginia automobile accident clients tell us that they believe the negligent driver was illegally using a cell phone at the time of the collision.  Often this is because our clients witness the driver using the phone, or see the driver with his head down immediately before the collision.  Regardless of the reason for the suspicion, we have tools to help discovery whether distracted driving was the cause of your collision.

A Note On Liability

Evidence of negligent conduct, like drunk driving or distracted driving, is typically only admissible at trial if the negligent driver disputes liability.  If the driver and his insurance company admit that the driver caused the accident, then this evidence is not likely to come into evidence.  The reason is that in a stipulated liability case, the only questions the judge or jury must answer are (1) what injuries or damages the negligent driver caused, and (2) the measure of those injuries or damages.

The reason is simple—if the driver admits causing the accident, any evidence about why the accident happened would only be useful for punishing the driver, and that type of punitive damages evidence is rarely available in cases like this.

How To Discover Evidence Of Illegal Cell Phone Use

During the discovery phase of a lawsuit, there are several ways to find evidence of illegal cell phone use:

  • Interrogatories:  we may ask the driver for information about his/her cell phone numbers and cell phone carriers, e-mail accounts, and Facebook or other social networking accounts.
  • Requests for Production:  we may ask the driver to supply us with documents which may show illegal cell phone use at the time of the auto accident—copies of text messages on the day of the accident; billing information showing phone use at the time of the accident; and print-outs of e-mail message times.
  • Depositions:  in some cases we will have the opportunity to ask the driver in person about their cell phone use.
  • Subpoenas:  we can use the power of the courts to compel the driver’s cell phone carrier to turn over information about the driver’s devices at the time of the accident.  This information can include lists of incoming and outgoing phone calls and the timing of incoming and outgoing text messages or other data usage.  After receiving these documents, we can conduct depositions of cell phone company employees to help us decipher the records delivered.

Of course, in some cases there may be no sure way to determine whether illegal cell phone was a cause of the automobile accident.  But where it could be useful to proving your case for settlement or trial, we will do everything we can to find out what happened.

Contact Us

If you have questions after an automobile accident in Maryland or West Virginia, contact our personal injury lawyers at 1-800-776-4529, or send us some brief information about your automobile accident to us through our online portal.  We’ll put our expertise to work for you right away.

More Maryland Automobile Accident Information

 

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