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How Do You Prove a Distracted Driver Caused an Accident?

Distracted drivers are a major problem on roads across the United States. In fact, distracted driving leads to over 3,000 deaths and 400,000 injuries per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If a distracted driver hit you, how can you prove they caused the accident? This is a key question if you want to hold them accountable and receive compensation for your injuries and other damages. Here is what you need to know about proving a distracted driving accident case.

Identifying Potential Causes of Distraction

The first step is to think through what may have distracted the other driver. There are three main categories of distractions:

  • Visual Distractions – Taking eyes off the road, such as looking at a cell phone.
  • Manual Distractions – Taking hands off the wheel, like texting or eating.
  • Cognitive Distractions – Taking mental focus away from driving, like talking on the phone.

So, what are some common specific causes of distracted driving? The most typical include:

  • Texting or talking on a cell phone
  • Adjusting music, navigation, etc. on an infotainment system
  • Eating and drinking
  • Applying makeup or grooming
  • Reading books, maps, or other documents
  • Watching videos
  • Interacting with pets or children in the vehicle
  • Daydreaming or being lost in thought
  • Arguing with passengers

It’s also important to note that distractions are not limited to personal activities in the vehicle. External distractions can also divert a driver’s attention, like:

  • Looking at roadside accidents or incidents
  • Viewing electronic billboards and signs
  • Noticing police activity
  • Watching other people, vehicles, or events outside the car

Observing Driver Behavior

If you can observe the other driver doing any of these activities, make sure to note it after the crash. For example, did you see them looking down at a phone? Were they holding food or other objects? Take note of any direct evidence that they were engaged in a distracting activity rather than paying attention to the road.

Gathering Evidence at the Accident Scene

Here are some key steps to take in the immediate aftermath of an accident with a potentially distracted driver:

Call the Police

An official accident report completed by law enforcement is crucial for documenting the at-fault driver’s behavior. Be sure to call 911 and get the police to the scene of the crash. Tell them your belief that the other driver was distracted when describing what happened. The officer may even choose to inspect the other driver’s phone or vehicle cab for signs of distraction.

Take Photos and Videos

Use your smartphone to take pictures and videos of the accident scene from multiple angles. Capture images showing the position of the vehicles, skid marks, location of debris, weather conditions, road features, and any visible damage. Also photograph the inside of the other driver’s vehicle if possible, like cell phones within reach, spilled food or drinks, etc.

Get Witness Information

If any other drivers or pedestrians witnessed the accident, get their contact details. Witness statements are powerful tools for proving fault and negligence. Even if the witness didn’t see the cause of the crash firsthand, they can attest to your and the other driver’s actions afterward. For example, a witness could state the other driver seemed preoccupied with a phone rather than responding appropriately after the collision.

Document Your Injuries

Take pictures of any injuries you sustained, both at the scene and throughout your medical treatment and recovery. Medical records alone may not fully convey the extent of your physical harm. Photos help demonstrate the pain, suffering, and impact of the distracted driver’s actions.

Working with a Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles

With evidence collected at the scene, a skilled Los Angeles car accident lawyer can build a compelling case that distraction caused the crash. An attorney knows how to identify all liable parties, thoroughly investigate what happened, and determine what additional evidence will help prove your claim. Possible evidence-gathering strategies may include:

Cell Phone Records

Getting phone logs and activity reports can verify if the other driver was texting, talking, or otherwise using their mobile device leading up to and even during the accident. Seeing a high volume of activity from an infotainment system can also reveal distraction.

Video Footage

Security cameras, smart doorbell recordings, and dash cams may have captured video of the lead-up to the crash. This footage could show erratic driving patterns or the driver looking down frequently at a distraction within their vehicle.

Crash Reenactments

Your lawyer may hire expert witnesses to recreate and analyze the accident. Factors like skid marks and debris fields can determine speeds and responsiveness. This analysis can prove whether distraction was a contributing cause of the collision.

Depositions and Interrogations

During the legal discovery process, your attorney can question the other driver under oath about their actions and mindset before crashing into you. Skilled questioning can often lead to revealing admissions if distraction did play a role.

Expert Testimony

In addition to accident reconstruction experts, a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles may engage specialists to explain the dangers and effects of distracted driving. This expert perspective lends credibility when attributing the crash to the other driver’s negligence.

Proving Liability and Recovering Damages

Thorough attorney investigation and advocacy increases the odds of holding a distracted driver financially and legally responsible for your crash-related losses. Typical damages you may recover in a successful case include:

  • Medical bills, both current and future treatment
  • Lost income due to missing work during recovery
  • Repair or replacement costs for your damaged vehicle
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Punitive damages in severe cases

Securing fair compensation often requires aggressive negotiation with insurance carriers. An experienced lawyer knows how to value cases accurately and will not settle for less than you deserve. If necessary, they will take your claim to court before a jury.

Don’t Delay – Contact a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer Today

If a distracted driver hit you in Los Angeles or anywhere in California, don’t wait to seek legal help. An experienced car accident lawyer in Los Angeles can start building your claim and looking for evidence immediately while the details are still fresh. Call Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys today at (800) 4-THEWIN for a free consultation. We thoroughly investigate accidents across Los Angeles and never charge any fees until we obtain the compensation you deserve. We know how to prove distraction and win cases others would say can’t be won. Trust us to be aggressive yet compassionate advocates to get justice and financial recovery after a distracted driver’s negligence harmed you.