Today’s cars and trucks are modern marvels. We used to get excited when a car had an extra set of cup holders, but today’s amenities are extraordinary: trunks that open with the wave of a foot, refrigerated compartments to keep drinks cool, and built-in screens on headrests to keep the kiddies entertained.
And that doesn’t even begin to cover the safety tech in cars: lane departure, blind spot warnings, automatic parking. Some cars can literally “crab walk” into a space, thus ending the blight of parallel parking forever. But of all the features in newer vehicles, it is, perhaps, the infotainment system that does the heaviest lifting, from answering the phone to providing GPS to allowing you to access satellite radio.
With that, it is no surprise that in the modern age of technology, distracted driving has become a leading cause of road accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities. As Sevierville injury lawyers handling car, truck, or motorcycle accident cases, we know just how dangerous distracted driving is. That’s why proving driver distraction is an important step when establishing liability in your case.
How does a Sevierville lawyer prove driver distraction in an accident?
If you are hit and injured by a distracted driver, there are a number of tools and methods we use to establish that you are not at fault. They can include:
- Police reports: We review the official Tennessee police report. These reports can include key details regarding driver distraction, such as admission of phone use, GPS manipulation, or engagement with in-vehicle technology. If the driver admits to driving distracted at the time of the accident, this is a major piece of evidence that is officially on record.
- Eyewitness testimonies: A list of official eyewitnesses will be recorded from the police report. Eyewitness accounts play a vital role in establishing driver distraction. We can reach out to these individuals to seek any further details that can support the claim that the other driver was distracted leading up to the accident. Details may include observed erratic driving, phone usage, eating/drinking, or other distracted behaviors exhibited by the driver.
- Analysis of the scene: We may consult accident reconstruction experts who specialize in analyzing crash scenes and vehicle dynamics. These experts can reconstruct the accident based on physical evidence and provide insights into the driver’s behavior leading up to the collision, including potential distractions.
For example, tire tracks can indicate the point where a driver initiated braking. If the skid marks do not occur until a very short distance before the collision, this can serve as supporting evidence that a driver was not focused on the road. The implication is that a focused driver would have begun braking sooner to avoid the crash.
What technology can a lawyer use to prove a driver was distracted?
All that technology we mentioned earlier that supposedly makes driving safer? It can also be used to show a driver was reckless or negligent.
Traffic surveillance cameras: Experienced lawyers can identify and obtain footage from traffic surveillance cameras installed at intersections or along roadways. This visual evidence can reveal instances of the driver’s distraction, including texting, eating, or engaging in any activities that can divert a driver’s attention from the road.
Dash cameras and in-car video recorders: Many vehicles are equipped with dash cameras or in-car video recorders that capture the events leading up to an accident. If the victim’s dash camera has any evidence to demonstrate the defendant was distracted, that will serve as valuable evidence. Through discovery or the subpoena process, our Sevierville personal injury attorneys can gain access to the offender’s dash camera footage and carefully examine it to identify any signs of driver distraction, such as adjusting electronic devices, reaching for objects, or spirited conversations leading up to the crash.
Cell phone records: We can also subpoena cell phone records to determine if the driver involved in the accident was using their phone at the time of the incident. Analyzing call logs, text messages, and internet usage records can provide crucial evidence of distraction.
Furthermore, in cases where cell phone usage is suspected, we may employ cell phone forensic experts. These specialists extract and analyze data from the driver’s phone, providing information on app usage, timestamps, and activities performed during the relevant time frame.
Event data recorders (EDRs): Modern cars, trucks, and motorcycles are equipped with event data recorders (also called “black boxes”) that capture crucial information about the vehicle’s operation leading up to a collision. We can retrieve data from these devices, such as speed, braking patterns and throttle input, which can help establish distractions or erratic behavior, similar to the above mentioned “Analysis of the scene” section.
Telematics systems: If this crash involved a truck or other fleet vehicle, many commercial vehicles or fleet vehicles are equipped with telematics systems. These systems record various aspects of the driver’s behavior, such as sudden accelerations, hard braking, or prolonged stops. We analyze this data to identify potential distractions that may have contributed to the accident.
Proving driver distraction is essential in car, truck, or motorcycle accident cases. By utilizing a combination of evidence gathering techniques and vehicle data, the lawyers at Delius & McKenzie can build a strong case to demonstrate that the driver at fault for your accident was distracted.
It takes meticulous investigation and sharp presentation of compelling evidence to prove liability in court. Choose the trusted and experienced team of Sevierville vehicle accident attorneys at Delius & McKenzie to ensure your rights are protected as you put the pieces back together after your accident. We will work towards securing justice for our clients and ensuring fair compensation for the victims of distracted driving accidents in Tennessee. Call or contact us today for your free consultation. We’re based in Sevierville but serve all the surrounding areas, including Seymour, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge.
Attorney Bryan E. Delius was born and raised in Sevier County, TN. He founded Delius & McKenzie more than 20 years ago, after receiving his JD from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is admitted in Tennessee and in several federal court systems. Learn more about Bryan E. Delius.