Using cell phones while driving is also known as ‘distracted driving,’ and distracted driving takes lives. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), cell phones attribute to accidents that cause more than 200 fatalities and 500,000 injuries in the United States. These numbers are quite alarming and can be prevented when cell phones are just… put down!
Careless Driving Caused by Cell Phone Use
The plaintiff in a distracted driving case has to prove that the defendant caused the accident through careless driving. The question is, if an accident occurs and the driver was using a cell phone immediately before or during the collision, were they being negligent? Injured plaintiffs, in other cases, may be to blame due to the fact that they were also using a cell phone while driving, which contributed to the accident. Careless driving caused by cell phones is a serious matter, and here are some quick examples:
- Driving with one hand on the steering wheel, and the other hand off
- Taking your eyes off the road to dial a number on your cell phone
- Failing to pay attention to surrounding dangers because of cell phone distractions, even those caused by a passenger’s cell phone
- Being distracted by a conversation on a cell phone
All 50 states hold an obligation to other drivers sharing the roadways when it comes to safety, implying that every driver is supposed to constantly look out for the safety and well being of other drivers. In New Jersey and New York, there is a band on all hand-held cell phone use while driving, which is a good thing to keep in mind for your safety and for others. When a driver is using one of these hand-held devices and engaging in distractive conduct, the driver is breaching their duty of care to other drivers, which is known as negligence. Since negligence causes car accidents and car accidents result in damages to the victim, the negligent driver is seen as legally liable – this means that they must compensate the victim for any sustained damages.
Examples of Evidence in a Claim
- Police Reports: Police are there at the scene of an accident to do many things, including survey the accident scene itself. A police report will be worked up, which could include a drawn diagram of the accident scene and a note as to who was at fault and why. Many things will also be gathered, such as witnesses’ names and addresses. You are always able to purchase a copy of the police report days later for a fee.
- Photographs/Videos: Photographs are great evidence because they can show the point of impact, disobeyed signals, and actual skid marks from an accident.
- Witness Statements: These statements are crucial, especially when they say they saw the driver on a cell phone before the accident. Witnesses will also want to remember admissions, or statements that the distracted driver makes that tends to show that he or she was being negligent.
- Cell Phone Records: These records can show the approximate location and time that the driver was on the cell phone, but a subpoena will be needed to obtain these records.
- Medical Records/Bills: These records can link the accident to your injuries. The evidence you have gathered must show that the accident was the direct cause of your injuries.
If you have suffered injuries due to an accident caused by a negligent driver distracted by a cell phone, you may have a case. Personal injury law can be severely complex and so you will want to enlist in the aid of a trusted attorney. You can call MDL today located in New Jersey or New York for a free consultation. They will work with you and assess if you have a case!