Distracted driving is a significant cause of accidents across the state. After a car accident, injured drivers can take legal action against distracted drivers to recover compensation for their injuries and damages. Proving other drivers were distracted is not always easy but not impossible.
A common cause of distracted driving is texting or making phone calls. This is so prevalent that many states, including Illinois, have made it a traffic violation. If the defendant was cited for distracted driving after the accident, we can use the ticket as evidence. We can also find witnesses who saw how the defendant was distracted by the wheel. It might also be possible to subpoena records from the defendant’s phone service provider that detail exactly when the defendant was using their phone. There are numerous possible distractions behind the wheel, and you should discuss your case with an attorney to determine the best way to prove the other driver was distracted.
Distracted driving accidents are relatively common, and injured drivers can sue for damages. Our Chicago car accident lawyers can help you recover damages for your painful injuries. Call the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.
Using a Traffic Ticket to Prove the Other Driver was Distracted Driving in a Car Accident in Illinois
Perhaps the biggest distractions plaguing drivers today are electronic devices in the car. Taking phone calls or answering text messages might be tempting while driving, but taking your focus off the road, even for a minute, is dangerous. According to 625 ILCS § 5/12-610.2, using hand-held electronic communication devices (e.g., phones, tablets, computers) is illegal as it is a common cause of accidents. Our Illinois personal injury lawyers can help you prove the defendant was distracted when they caused the crash.
Violations of this law may lead to a ticket issued by law enforcement. Suppose an officer sees a driver in their car on the phone or using another electronic communication device while driving. In that case, the officer may stop the driver and cite them for the violation. In many cases, officers will cite drivers for using electronic communication devices after investigating an accident. If that is the case for the defendant in your situation, we can use the ticket as evidence of distracted driving.
In addition, a violation of the law against using electronic communication devices while driving might have serious criminal penalties beyond traffic tickets in instances resulting in car accidents. If you were seriously injured in the crash, the defendant might face a Class A misdemeanor. If someone passed away because of their injuries, the defendant might instead face charges for a Class 4 felony.
Suppose the defendant in your case also faces criminal prosecution for causing an accident while using electronic communication devices. In that case, we should wait until the criminal trial is complete before taking civil action. If the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty, we can use the guilty verdict to support your claims for damages.
Using Eyewitness Testimony to Prove Distracted Driving in an Illinois Car Accident
Not every instance of distracted driving is met with a citation or criminal charges. However, that does not mean the other driver was not distracted when they caused the accident. In such cases, we must find other means of proving distraction behind the wheel. Eyewitnesses might be of great importance and can testify about seeing the other driver using a phone, texting, or otherwise driving while distracted.
Eyewitnesses are often found around the accident scene, so it is important that you exchange information with any potential witnesses immediately after the crash. If you are too badly injured to do this, our Streamwood car accident attorneys can contact law enforcement officials and ask if any witnesses were interviewed during their investigation. If they were, their information should be contained in the police report regarding the crash.
Not all witnesses come from the area immediately surrounding the accident. In many cases, witnesses can testify about what they saw shortly before the crash. For example, someone who saw the defendant get into their car shortly before the accident can testify if they saw the defendant talking on the phone as they drove away. Alternatively, if the driver was talking on the phone during the accident, the person they were talking to might feel guilty enough to come forward and admit they were on the other end of the line when the crash happened.
How Phone Records Can Prove Distracted Driving in Car Accident in Illinois
Something that concerns many cell phone users nowadays is privacy. While people enjoy the benefits of having a cell phone with them wherever they go, they often dislike that the phone company records almost everything they do on their phone. Our Joilet car accident lawyers can use this to your advantage and subpoena phone records to prove that the defendant was using their cell phone during the accident.
Every phone call made and text message sent is recorded by the phone company. While the actual content of messages is typically private, things like time stamps on calls and texts are carefully tracked and recorded. Getting a hold of these records is difficult because phone companies cannot hand them over without a court order or subpoena demanding it. An attorney can help you jump through the legal hoops necessary to get these records.
Once our Illinois car accident lawyers have these records, we can compare time stamps on phone calls and text messages to the date and time of the accident. If the phone records show that the defendant had made or received phone calls or text messages at the same time as the accident, we can prove they were driving while distracted.
Call Our Illinois Car Accident Attorney for Assistance
If you were injured in a car accident and believe the other driver was on the phone or otherwise distracted at the time, our Naperville car accident lawyers can help you hold them liable. For a free case review, call the Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.