This page discusses cell phone accidents. Many people know that talking or texting while driving is illegal, but what does that mean for your case? How do you prove it was a cell phone accident? How do you proceed? This page will give you some answers to many of these common questions. It should not, however, be a substitute for speaking with an accident attorney as every case is different.
What is the Law Regarding Cell Phones in California?
As you may have heard, starting in 2017 cell phone laws while driving became stricter. Assembly Bill No. 1785 changes the law that prohibited holding your phone to text and talk while driving. Drivers had gotten tricky and skirted around the many tickets by saying that they were holding their phones to use their GPS. Well, the new law takes care of that because it requires any function you are using to be voice-operated and hands-free. A cell phone can be used with your hands only if it is mounted on your windshield like a GPS and can be activated/deactivated with a single swipe or tap.
What Should I Do After a Cell Phone Accident?
In most cases, you will do the same things you would after a car crash. For a brief summary:
- First and foremost, stop your vehicle. If there is an injury, do not keep driving to a convenient location.
- If no one is injured, you can move to the nearest place that doesn’t block traffic.
- Exchange insurance, registration, license plate, and driver’s license information
- Get the information of any and all witnesses.
- Take pictures of the accident, damage, and injuries.
- File a report. This is required if anyone is injured.
- Call a personal injury lawyer.
What Do I do if I Think They Were on Their Cell Phone?
You will see the true worth of your lawyer if you believe that the other driver caused the accident by being on their phone. Generally, there are few ways that your lawyer will be able to find out if the bad guy was on the phone.
- Admission – One way that your lawyer may prove the other driver was on the phone is if they admitted it to you. While this seems like it should make your case easy, that is not necessarily the case. It may be difficult to get them to repeat the statement to an officer or in a deposition.
- Police officer’s testimony or report – As expected, police officers make as detailed a report as possible when they arrive on the scene of an accident. If the other driver makes the mistake of admitting to the officer they were on the phone, or if the officer saw them on their phone, it is strong evidence in support of your case.
- Witnesses – Much like a police officer’s report or testimony, there is strong evidence in support of your case if a witness saw the other driver on their phone. It does not even necessarily have to be a passenger in your car or another vehicle. Sometimes the other driver’s own passengers provide such testimony.
- Videos or photos – Sometimes other cameras in the area of the crash catch the other driver on the phone. Such instances are rare, but do happen.
- Cell Phone Record – Last, and the most used, are cell phone records. Text message and phone records have timestamps that can indicate the driver was using the phone at the time.
Let Your Attorney Figure Out Fault
Figuring out who was legally at fault is a difficult task. The other driver may have been texting or on the phone or maybe, regardless of the illegality of using their phone, their car had a manufacturing defect. There are many factors at play and your lawyer has the experience to figure out what piece of the puzzle goes where. In short, you should not try to determine fault.
Cell Phone Accident Facts, Figures, and Truth
- From an October 2014 study in California, the most commonly reported crash factors for cell phone-related fatal/injury crashes were 1) traveling at an unsafe speed, 2) improper turning, 3) traffic signal and signs, 4) driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and 5) automobile right-of-way.
- That same study found that drivers 21 to 30 years of age accounted for the largest percentage of all drivers in cell phone-related fatal/injury crashes.
- Males were involved in more of these crashes than females.
- Most importantly, drivers reported as using a cell phone at the time of a fatal/injury crash were more likely to be found at fault than drivers who were not.
- Cell phone accidents don’t happen only in cars. In 2008, a Metrolink train in California crashed due to an engineer texting resulting in 135 injuries and 25 deaths.
When Should You Contact a Lawyer?
Contact a lawyer as soon as you can after the cell phone accident. It is extremely difficult to decide how you should proceed without talking with a lawyer. Insurance companies want to pay you as little as possible and your attorney can help prevent this. You don’t want to go up against a big corporation that is out to hurt you without someone who knows the games they play.
Additionally, speaking with a cell phone accident lawyer helps relieve stress. How? After accidents, most people are shaken up. At best, they lost their car temporarily. Many victims don’t know what to ask, who to ask, or how to ask for treatment they need. An experienced lawyer can instruct you in all of these matters. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Our lawyer has helped many people in your exact position. If you think you have been in an accident where the other person was on their cell phone, you should call our San Diego personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The phone call is free and there are no obligations to sign anything. Personal injury lawyers are paid on a contingency fee. This means that our lawyer does not get paid unless they win money for you. There is no upfront cost to you.