Proof in a Distracted Driving Accident

May 19, 2023

Distracted driving leads to a significant amount of injuries, fatalities, and property damage in West Virginia and throughout the US each year. Individuals affected by distracted driving should be able to recover compensation for their losses, but it is crucial to prove that the other driver was indeed distracted. Here, we want to examine the types of proof that may be needed to prove fault in a distracted driving incident.

Proving a Driver was Distracted

Proving distracted driving can be incredibly challenging. After all, most people are not going to simply admit that they were distracted and that the distraction caused the accident. There are various types of evidence that could be used to determine whether or not a person was distracted, including statements from eyewitnesses or those involved in the incident.

In addition to eyewitness statements, it may be possible to obtain video surveillance footage from nearby buildings, homes, or even dashcams. If this footage can show an individual operating the vehicle while distracted, this could help the insurance claim or at a personal injury trial.

In cases of severe injuries or death, it may be necessary to obtain mobile device data and social media records. These records can show when a person was using a phone or interacting with certain apps.

Because determining liability for a distracted driving case is so challenging, we strongly encourage any injury or property damage victim to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer in Martinsburg, West Virginia. When you have an attorney by your side helping you with these claims, you will have an advocate with the resources needed to investigate the incident and handle this process of evidence gathering. Your accident attorney can walk you through the expected steps and give you an idea of what it will take to secure compensation for your particular claim.

What is Considered Distracted Driving?

According to data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), we can see that 3,522 individuals lost their lives as a result of distracted driving accidents in 2021, the most recent year of data available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that approximately 424,000 individuals were injured due to distracted driving during the most recent reporting year of data collected.

Distracted driving is broken into three main categories:

  1. Visual distractions, which include taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual distractions, which include taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive distractions, which include taking your mind off of driving

Under this umbrella of main types of distractions, we have all of the activities you are likely familiar with that could be considered distracted driving. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Using a mobile device in any way behind the wheel
  • Dealing with pets or other people in the vehicle
  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Applying makeup or looking in the mirror
  • Adjusting the AC controls, GPS, or radio
  • Reaching for objects anywhere in the vehicle
  • Looking at activities on the roadside (rubbernecking)

Anytime individuals lose track of operating their motor vehicle, even if just for a few seconds, this is considered distracted driving. The CDC says that if an individual is driving at 55 mph and takes their eyes off the road for enough time to send or receive a text message, this is like driving the length of a football field with their eyes closed.

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