How Can I Prove a Driver Was Using a Cellphone Before a Crash?

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on February 16, 2023  in Car Accident News. Updated on May 25, 2023

man texting and drivingAt least seven percent of people admit to using a cellphone, including to text or make phone calls, while driving. This is extremely dangerous behavior, as it takes a driver’s eyes and attention off the road. Data shows that nine percent of all fatal traffic accidents are a result of texting and driving.

If you are injured in an accident caused by someone who was using a cellphone, there may be evidence you can use to help prove your case.

Call our experienced car crash attorneys in New Jersey today to discuss your claim. During the free consultation, we can discuss your situation and potential legal options. If you choose to hire us to represent you during your claim, we do not charge you any hourly fees. You only pay us when we successfully recover compensation for you.

Is Using a Cellphone While Driving Always Illegal in New Jersey?

In 2007, New Jersey made texting while driving a primary offense, meaning a police officer could pull you over for it.

Then, in 2013, the state legislature passed another law that increased the penalties for texting while driving. It also amended the law to prohibit all handheld cellphone use, including the following:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Playing games
  • Browsing social media
  • Watching or taking videos
  • And more

Drivers under the age of 21 are completely prohibited from using any electronic devices, including hands-free devices. However, those who are over the age of 21 may still be able to use a cellphone as long as it is using hands-free technology like Bluetooth.

Even though using hands-free technology is technically legal, it does not mean it is safe. Driving requires your full attention, and if you are having a phone conversation, you could also be distracted. That means your chances of causing a collision are significantly increased.

What Can I Do to Help Prove Cellphone Use?

If you think another driver was using a cellphone before he or she crashed into you, there are some steps you may be able to take to help preserve evidence.

At the crash scene, you should be sure to get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the collision. This can include bystanders or other drivers. Once you hire an attorney, you can hand the person’s information over so he or she can speak to the witness and get a statement. Make sure you ask the person whether he or she is willing to provide a statement before sending the information over to your lawyer.

You should also make sure you provide a statement to the responding police officer. He or she can document your observation about the driver in the police report. For example, if you saw the person swerving or drifting into another lane before the collision occurred, it could be worth noting.

What Can My Attorney Do to Help Prove Cellphone Use?

The at-fault driver’s cellphone holds the main piece of evidence. These phone records could show that the driver was using the phone at the time of the crash. Your attorney may be able to request these records from the at-fault driver. However, that individual may have no legal obligation to comply unless a lawsuit is filed, and your attorney subpoenas those records.

If your attorney has no legal option for getting the driver’s phone records, there may still be other evidence that could help your claim. For instance, your attorney may consult with an accident reconstructionist to determine whether a driver may have been distracted before the collision.

It is important to keep in mind that a texting and driving case is basically a distracted driving case. That means an accident reconstructionist may look for signs the other vehicle drifted into your lane or failed to come to a full stop at a traffic light or stop sign. The damage to your vehicle could also help determine how the accident occurred.

Your attorney could receive the police report from the accident before you do. The report may have additional information, as the responding officer will have had additional time to conduct a more thorough investigation. For example, he or she may have included any calls to emergency services about a distracted driver before the collision occurred.

It is worth mentioning that New Jersey law may limit the right to file a lawsuit depending on the type of insurance you have. Therefore, it is important to have an attorney review your policy to determine your legal options.

Need Help After a Crash? Call Us Today

If a driver who was distracted by a cellphone caused an accident that injured you, you have the right to pursue compensation. Our attorneys are prepared to help you file a claim to recover the compensation you need.

Do not wait to call, as time is limited.

Schedule your free consultation. Call (800) 518-0508 today.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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