Anyone who has spent any time behind the wheel has seen some terrifying things. Texting drivers staring at their laps, people enjoying what appears to be a multi-course meal, folks deciding that the best time to get caught up with the newspaper is during their morning commute, and people applying makeup at a high rate of speed are all things most drivers have witnessed.
The best thing you can hope for from a distracted driver is taking a few seconds longer to respond to a green light. The worst is a catastrophic car accident.
How can you show a distracted driver caused a motor vehicle accident? These five steps can help strengthen your claim and hold the other driver accountable for their negligent actions.
1. Examine cellphone records
If the other driver was distracted by their cellphone, call logs are useful. A call record can show that the cellphone was in use at the time of the accident. Keep in mind that while hands-free devices are legal to use in Rhode Island, a driver may still be distracted by the device. Just because a driver may not be criminally liable doesn’t mean there isn’t a civil liability.
2. Gather eyewitness testimony
Eyewitness testimony from other drivers, pedestrians, or passengers can help bolster your claim. If possible, you should gather contact information from any witnesses immediately following the accident.
3. Review surveillance camera footage
Surveillance cameras or even doorbell cameras may have captured some, or all, of the accident. It’s worth reviewing the footage to determine whether there’s evidence of the negligent driver engaging in distracting behavior.
4. Look at the driver’s own words
Drivers may flat out admit that they were distracted at the time of the accident. Evidence is rarely more potent than when it comes out of the responsible party’s mouth.
5. Use an accident reconstruction expert
It’s amazing what accident reconstruction experts can piece together from the accident scene. Conclusions about the other driver’s speed and reaction time may point to a distracted driver.
We can’t control the actions of other drivers. However, we can fight to hold them accountable for their negligent actions.