Distracted driving is a serious—and rapidly growing—safety problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites data showing that 3,500 people are killed in distracted driving crashes nationwide each year. A distracted driver is a negligent driver. They can be held legally responsible for a crash. Unfortunately, some distracted drivers will refuse to accept culpability.
This raises an important question: How do you prove that a driver was distracted? The short answer is that a comprehensive investigation is required to secure all relevant evidence. Here, our Atlanta auto accident lawyer explains the key things you should understand about proving fault in a distracted driving crash case in Georgia in more detail.
Why it Matters: Georgia is a Fault-Based Car Accident State
To begin, it is imperative that you know why proving distracted driving matters. Similar to most but not all jurisdictions, Georgia is a fault-based motor vehicle accident state. Whoever is at fault for causing the accident can be responsible for the damages. It could be a driver, a trucking company, a highway construction company, or a vehicle manufacturer.
If you can prove the other driver was distracted—and therefore at fault—you have a right to hold them and their insurance carrier legally responsible for the full value of your damages, including for vehicle repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Clear evidence of distracted driving can significantly strengthen your case.
Understanding the Types of Evidence that Can Be Used to Prove Distracted Driving
Admissions Against Interests
In some cases, the other driver may admit to being distracted in the immediate aftermath of the crash. They might say they were texting, looking at a map, or even changing the radio station. Broadly explained, these statements are called “admissions against interest” because they are against the driver’s own interest in avoiding blame for the accident. These admissions can be powerful evidence—showing that the driver, at least temporarily, acknowledged the distraction.
The Police Report
All injury crashes in Georgia should be reported to law enforcement. When police arrive at the scene of an accident, they will generally create a report detailing their observations, statements from those involved. In some cases, the officer may even record observations of what caused the accident. For example, the officer may have noted that the other driver had a cell phone in their lap.
Witness statements are an important form of evidence. If someone saw the driver texting, talking on the phone, or otherwise not paying attention, their testimony can be compelling evidence. Witness statements help paint a picture of the driver’s actions and focus, or lack thereof, before the accident.
Cell Phone Records
Texting and driving is among the most common—and most dangerous—forms of distracted driving. Your Georgia auto accident attorney can take legal action to help you secure the other motorist’s cell phone records after the crash. These records can be matched up to the time of the collision. If the other driver sent a text message at the same time that the crash occurred, that is very strong evidence that he or she was texting and driving.
A Proactive Investigation of a Serious Crash is a Must
What evidence you will need to prove fault in a distracted driving case in Atlanta or elsewhere in Georgia will always depend on the specific situation. For this reason, a proactive investigation of a motor vehicle crash is not just beneficial—it is an absolute must. A prompt, thorough investigation ensures that vital evidence is preserved, which is especially critical in proving distracted driving. The longer you wait, the more likely that crucial details—such as witness memory, skid marks, or electronic data—are to be lost or obscured. Do not try to handle the entire process on your own. Consult with a top-tier Atlanta auto accident attorney right away after a major distracted driving accident in Georgia.
Schedule a Free Case Review With Our Georgia Car Crash Attorney Today
At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, our Georgia car accident lawyers have the professional skills and legal expertise to take on distracted driving crash cases. Our firm is focused on getting results. If you or your loved one was injured in a wreck with a distracted driver, we are more than ready to help. Contact us today for your free, no obligation initial case review. From our law offices in Atlanta and Augusta, we handle distracted driving accident claims throughout Georgia.