Evidence That May Link Your Crash to Distracted Driving
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Mar 25, 2021 in Car Accidents
Distracted driving is a huge problem across the U.S. In fact, approximately 25 percent of accidents today are caused by texting and driving.
If you are injured in a car crash caused by a driver you suspect was engaged in some form of distracted driving behavior, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses.
Wisconsin has strict laws against driving while distracted, and our dedicated auto accident lawyers in Milwaukee are prepared to hold at-fault parties accountable for the damages they caused.
Call our firm anytime, night or day, to schedule your free case review.
At the Accident Scene
Gathering evidence that may help your potential claim can start at the accident scene. Although it is important to note that you should never place yourself or others in danger.
Evidence you may be able to gather at the scene could come from:
Did you see the driver on the phone right before the accident? What can you remember about his or her behavior? Were they holding a cellphone in their hands or putting on makeup? Were they looking at the road?
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,142 people were killed because of distracted driving behavior in 2019. This number does not included distracted driving accidents where there were serious injuries, but no fatalities.
People usually think of texting as the only type of distracted driving behavior, and while that is a leading cause, there are other ways drivers get distracted while driving as well.
Did you see the driver doing any of these other behaviors before the crash?:
- Eating or drinking
- Arguing with a passenger
- Fiddling around with car controls, such as a GPS
- Posing for a selfie
- Taking video of the road
Photos of the Crash Scene
Other helpful evidence include photos from the crash scene. Only attempt to capture photos outside of your vehicle if it is safe to do so. If you cannot exit your car safely, try to take pictures using your cellphone from inside your vehicle.
Some important photos to capture include:
- Vehicle damages
- Both vehicles together showing how they came to rest
- Road debris
- Weather conditions
- Note the approximate time of the crash
- Road signs or other landmarks that identify the location
Speaking with Witnesses
Are there any bystanders or other drivers who stopped to help and saw the accident happen? Get their contact details and a recorded statement, if possible. Your attorney can contact them with any additional questions about what they saw later.
Police Report/Citation Issued
Immediately after the accident, it is important to call 9-1-1 to alert police and other first responders about the collision. Once they arrive at the scene, police will:
- Assist those who are injured
- Investigate the area to determine cause of the crash
- Speak to all involved parties
- Take statements from witnesses
- Observe damages, including where each vehicle came to rest
- Examine other accident debris
For example, if there are no observable skid marks in the road, police may determine that the at-fault party did not make any attempt to stop or avoid the accident. This is common behavior for a driver who was distracted at the time of a motor vehicle accident.
If there is sufficient evidence at the scene, the police may issue a citation to the other driver for texting and driving. However, as per state law, they may not confiscate anyone’s cellphone to determine if it was being used at the time of the crash. To legally look through a person’s cellphone data, the officer must either have a warrant or the consent of the cellphone’s owner.
Other Evidence You or Your Attorney May Obtain
After seeking medical attention - without delay - to determine if you suffered any injuries, we strongly recommend that you contact an attorney for legal help with your claim. If you hire an attorney, there is additional evidence from your motor vehicle accident that he or she may be able to obtain, including:
Traffic or Dashboard Cam Footage
If you are lucky, yours or someone else’s dashcam may have captured the other driver on their cellphone. More likely – if there is a traffic cam – the footage of your accident could reveal the other driver engaged in some type of distracted behavior.
Electronic Data Recorder
The last few seconds of data in most cars these days are recorded in an electronic data recorder – essentially, your car's black box. Your attorney may be able to find out important details about what the other driver was doing seconds before the crash. This data, for instance, may not only show the driver was on his or her cellphone, but also whether that individual tried to apply the brakes to avoid hitting your vehicle.
Electronic Trails – Such as on Social Media
After the accident, see if you or your attorney can attempt to locate the other party’s social media accounts to see if there is evidence that they posted anything at the approximate time of the crash.
Wisconsin Distracted Driving Laws
Wisconsin has very strict laws regarding the use of a cellphone or other mobile device while driving.
Cellphone use in Wisconsin includes:
- No probationary or restricted license drivers may use their cellphone while driving - hand held or hands free
- No drivers may use their cellphone while traveling through a work zone
- Texting while driving is not allowed for any driver at any time
The only exception for making phone calls while driving is if there is an emergency. However, you should always try to first find a safe place to pull over before using your phone.
Drivers who violate this law can expect a ticket, fines and points on their driver's license.
Get Legal Help from an Experienced Lawyer
Our team of knowledgeable lawyers have a long and proven track record, recovering millions in compensation on behalf of our clients.
Even if you are unsure if may have a case, you can easily find out – with no risk to you. Initial consultations are a great way to get the answers you need and to learn about your legal options. There is no obligation to pursue a claim, and if we do represent you, there is nothing for you to pay upfront. We do not get paid unless we recover compensation for you.
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