In recent years, distracted driving has become a leading cause of car accidents in New York and across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “[e]ach day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver” every single day. In 2018, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reported that, “[e]ach year, driver inattention is one of the leading contributing factors of motor vehicle crashes in New York State.”
If you were seriously injured or a loved one was killed in an accident involving a distracted driver, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation under New York law. But, in order to file a successful claim, you must be able to prove that the other driver was distracted behind the wheel. So, how do you prove that a distracted driver was to blame?
8 Ways to Prove that a Distracted Driver Caused a Car Accident
Here are eight potential ways to prove that a distracted driver was at fault in a serious or fatal car accident:
1. Cell Phone Records
Once you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will be able to subpoena the other driver’s cell phone records. These records will indicate whether the other driver was talking, texting, or using his or her data plan at the time of the collision.
2. Smartphone Metadata
If the other driver has a smartphone, your lawyer will also be able to request access to his or her phone’s metadata. This is detailed information about the phone’s use and location, and it can be used to further demonstrate exactly what the other driver doing when the crash occurred.
3. Vehicle Metadata
While most cases of distracted driving involve cell phone use, many modern vehicles now have complex “infotainment” systems, and these vehicles store information about drivers’ use of those systems. If the other driver was distracted by interacting with his or her car, truck, or SUV, it may be possible to prove it through the vehicle’s metadata.
4. Police Report
If a police officer responded to the scene of the accident and prepared a report, your lawyer will be able to request a copy of the report to use in your case. Police reports can contain several pieces of useful information, including a record of anything the other driver said to the responding officer and the responding officer’s perception of who was at fault (and why).
5. Witness Testimony
Unless you or your loved one was driving on a rural road or late at night, chances are that someone else (and perhaps several people) witnessed the collision. If these witnesses saw the other driver using his or phone, eating or drinking, or doing anything else other than paying attention to the road ahead, they may be able to provide testimony in support of your claim for just compensation.
6. Passenger Testimony
Likewise, if you or your loved one was traveling with any passengers (or if the distracted driver had passengers in his or her vehicle), these passengers may be able to testify that the other driver was distracted in the moments immediately preceding the crash.
7. Video Footage
These days, cell phone cameras, dash cams, traffic cameras, and security cameras are more prevalent than ever. If the accident was caught on video, your lawyer may be able to issue a subpoena to obtain a copy of the footage. If you have a video recording of the accident, you should be sure to keep the footage and ensure that your attorney gets a copy as soon as possible.
8. Admission of Fault
Finally, in addition to any statements the other driver may have made to the responding police officer, he or she may have made other public or private admissions as well. From recorded statements provided to the insurance companies to posts on social media, there are several places your attorney will be able to look to see if the other driver has made an admission of fault.
It is important to emphasize that these are all potential ways to prove that a driver was distracted at the time of a crash. In order to determine what types of evidence are available in your case, your attorney will need to conduct a thorough investigation – and this is something that should be done as soon as possible. If you would speak to a car accident lawyer about seeking financial compensation for a car accident involving a distracted driver in New York, contact us now for a free initial consultation.
For more information about recovering financial compensation after a distracted driving accident in New York, please call 845-303-8777 or contact us online. With offices in Kingston, Newburgh, or Poughkeepsie, our car accident attorneys represent victims and families statewide.