Distracted driving is the leading cause of severe and deadly motor vehicle collisions in Virginia Beach and throughout the United States. You might strongly suspect that the other driver involved in the accident is to blame because they were distracted, but suspicion is not enough to validate your claim. You will have to prove that the other driver was distracted through the use of clear and convincing evidence before you are eligible for financial compensation, so knowing what evidence to look for, such as cell phone records and witness statements, is crucial to the outcome of your injury claim. If you were injured in a car accident and feel that the other driver’s distraction was the cause, reach out to the experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule a free case evaluation.
How Do I Demonstrate Liability In a Distracted Driving Accident?
If you decide to pursue legal action following a distracted driving accident, there are several forms of evidence that can help prove that the collision was caused by a distracted driver, including:
The Police Report
After being involved in a car accident, you should always contact the police. This is especially true if you have reason to believe that distracted driving was the cause. The responding officer will study the crash scene and write up their findings in a report. Things included in the police report that could serve as evidence to support your claim are:
- The responding officer’s personal observations of distracted driving
- The speed at which the other vehicle was traveling when the crash occurred
- Whether or not the other driver attempted to swerve or brake
- The at-fault driver admits to being distracted
- Testimony from bystanders or other people involved in the crash
- The responding officer’s examination of the other driver’s phone
Videos and Pictures of the Accident Scene
Video footage and photographs taken at or shortly after the accident could indicate the other motorist was distracted. Photos showing the absence of skid marks could act as reliable proof that the other driver never even attempted to brake because they were probably distracted. Pictures of any vehicle damage can also help probe that the other driver did not attempt to avoid the crash by swerving because they had no idea they were about to hit something.
Video from bystanders, traffic cameras, or security cameras from businesses in the area could have captured the at-fault driver using their phone or participating in other distracting behaviors when the collision occurred.
If anyone witnesses your accident, they may be willing to give testimony about what they saw. Witnesses can include passengers in either vehicle and pedestrians or other bystanders that were in the vicinity. They might have observed the at-fault driver making a phone call, sending a text, adjusting the GPR or stereo, reaching for an item, or in some other way not paying attention to the road. Collecting statements from eyewitnesses can prove driver distraction and strengthen your claim.
Your Virginia Beach car accident lawyer can subpoena the other driver’s phone records. Since they record the time and date of all cell phone activity, they can help prove that the other driver was talking on the phone or texting when the accident happened.
After some car accidents, the responding officer will seize or inspect a driver’s phone at the scene, which can offer further evidence that the other driver was not paying attention.
The Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have the resources to obtain a driver’s cellphone records and can use them to show that a driver was on their phone at the time of an accident.
Another form of evidence that leaves electronic proof behind is social media platforms. If the other driver was on a social media platform when the accident occurred, this timestamped and logged activity can be traced.
We routinely work with experts in the field of electronic evidence and can easily find out if the other driver was updating their status, posting a picture, or uploading a video onto social media at the time of impact.
Virginia Laws on Distracted Driving
Prior to 2021, Virginia’s hands-free law was more restricted in its scope. This earlier law only outlawed drivers from handling a cell phone while in a work zone. It also prohibited drivers from reading or sending emails and text messages while behind the wheel.
The more recent law widens the restrictions listed in the earlier law. It is now against the law for drivers to handle a cell phone anytime they are operating a vehicle, whether or not they are in a work zone. As is usually the case, there are a few exceptions, however, the ban on emailing and texting is still in place.
Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp
If you sustained injuries in a car accident you suspect was the result of distracted driving or any other form of negligence, there could be ample evidence to support your claim for financial compensation. The skilled Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp know how to construct a solid case and maximize damages on your behalf. That is how we were able to help one family when we secured a $1 million wrongful death settlement after her mother was fatally struck by the driver of a van. If you were recently injured by a negligent driver, you can schedule a free case review with one of our knowledgeable lawyers by calling (833) 997-1774 or by filling out a simple contact form. Our offices are in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Hampton.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.