Driving while distracted is an alarming habit that is on the rise. Advances in technology make it easier for us to take up various tasks at once. But this multitasking also leads to negligence which can cause serious accidents.
So much so that distracted driving is now one of the leading causes of road accidents resulting in serious injuries and death. The number of deaths due to distracted driving, especially among teenagers, is an avoidable tragedy.
If you are a victim of an accident caused by distracted driving in Virginia, you have every right to financial compensation. But sometimes, it can become difficult to prove. Let us look at what you need to do to prove distracted driving on part of the other driver.
Causes of Distracted Driving
Before we discuss the steps to take if you have suffered injuries due to an accident caused by a distracted driver, let us take a quick look at what causes a distraction while driving.
We can broadly divide driving distractions into these distinct categories:
- Cognitive preoccupation
Any distraction that causes the driver to lose mental focus and diverts his attention from driving. It may be talking on the phone, conversation with a co-passenger, or even emotional stress.
- Visual distraction
Anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road, even momentarily. It may be calling or texting on the phone or looking out of the window.
- Manual diversion
Something that forces the driver’s hands off the car controls. It may be eating, adjusting the radio, or again, texting while driving.
What to Do at the Scene of the Crash
Make sure you are safe and try to collect any evidence from the crash site that points toward distracted driving as the reason for the accident. The best time to gather the information is at the crash scene, immediately after the accident.
If you saw the driver with their cell phone immediately before the crash, try to locate the phone. Also look for signs of them eating, applying makeup, or any such activity that may be distracting. If possible, try to click photographs of such evidence.
Cell Phone Records
Cell phone records can prove if the driver was indeed talking or texting at the exact time of the crash. If it is evident at the scene of the crash, the police may inspect or even confiscate the erring driver’s phone.
Cell phones nowadays are smart devices used for much more than just calls and text messages. The driver may be using social media apps, email, encrypted messaging apps, or just browsing the web.
Most of the apps for messaging and social media activities use encryption or enhanced login security in the interest of privacy. It is hard to extract these records without proper expertise or authorization.
Depending upon the circumstances of the crash and the extent of your claim, you can engage an expert to follow the electronic trail from the driver’s cell phone.
Cars today have onboard computers and software to keep a track of driver’s activity at the wheel. The vehicle’s logs may be useful in proving if there was any distraction at the time of the crash.
These computers can record data regarding vehicle speed, music volume, or even the driver’s movements at electronic controls inside the car, at the time of the crash.
Eyewitness testimony is an excellent way to prove your claim if you are a victim of distracted driving. The witness may be a co-passenger, a passerby, or a driver in another vehicle.
Reports recorded and filed by law enforcement and emergency personnel who arrive first at the crash scene is also a part of the crucial evidence. The statements recorded by the police from you, the other driver, and witnesses can help cement your claim.
Financial Compensation in a Distracted Driving Crash
A distracted driver who disregards his responsibility towards other road users is liable for his actions. If you have the evidence to prove their negligence, you have the right to claim damages.
Once you have established negligence, the next step is to add up your losses due to the accident. You can claim for the recovery of medical costs, property damage, lost income, and even the emotional distress you went through because of the accident.
You can file an insurance claim to recover your losses, but it is usually very tough to get suitable compensation from the insurance company. If the insurer is denying your rightful claim, you may seek out an expert injury attorney for advice.
Hire an Experienced Distracted Car Crash Lawyer in Virginia
Personal injury or damage to the property caused due to someone else’s irresponsible behavior can be a traumatic experience. To endure the physical and mental anguish, you need sound legal support to help you recover the maximum compensation under the Virginia laws.
Our team of experienced and compassionate lawyers at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn are here to build a watertight legal strategy and help you secure maximum damages. Call us at 800-752-0042 to schedule a free consultation today.