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Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Prove the Driver who hit my car was using his or her cell phone?

In studying the history of traffic safety, few will argue that we live in an age of distracted driving. The phone calls we receive to our personal injury law firm about distracted driving car accidents in Riverview and throughout Tampa Bay have an eerily similar theme: texting and social media on the cell phone. Too often we, are told “I was in a car accident because the other driver was texting while driving.” Or “the other driver wasn’t paying attention and rear-ended my car.” Or “the other driver just went right through the stop sign or stop light, how do I know they weren’t looking at their cell phone?” Another question we hear is “how can I prove they were on their phone and not paying attention to the road?” We understand why our Riverview personal injury car accident clients ask us these questions because our clients want to know if they have suffered a personal injury because some driver was using their smart phone instead of watching the road.

Distracted driving is not a new phenomenon. There have always been distractions for drivers since the car was invented. But, texting and driving has taken distracted driving to a whole new level. In an era in which mass shootings dominate the news cycle, it’s hard to find fault in someone for sending a quick text or checking their facebook while driving. But, the consequences are real. Every day, serious personal injury and wrongful death accidents are happening Florida that are directly related to cell phone use. If you reflect on what you see with your own eyes on the road, it makes sense. We all experience the rush hour Riverview traffic on route 301 or the Tampa traffic on i-75. Without fail, you can count on looking to your left or right and seeing a driver with their eyes glued to their phone.

How Can You tell if someone is texting on their phone while driving?

Law enforcement officers from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to Tampa PD to Florida Highway Patrol are trained to look for tell-tale behaviors from distracted drivers using their cell phones while driving. This information is not typically available from police in the context of personal injury car accident cases because police are not typically observing the at-fault drivers until after the car accident has already occurred. But, in some cases, witnesses can attest to behaviors observed from the driver who caused the accident. Some of these driving behaviors that tend to indicate a driver is using their phone or otherwise distracted include:

• Car drifts into another lane
• Fast, last-minute turns or stops
• Failing to use turn signal for lane changes
• Failing to use turn signal for turns
• Driver looking down
• Light glow from the phone
• Driving too slow in passing lane
• Last minute breaking during stop and go traffic

If you’ve been in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, there’s a good chance the negligent driver who caused the accident was distracted by her phone. To prove the driver was on his phone, police use forensic investigation experts to search the driver’s cell phone. A lot of folks may not realize this, but law enforcement typically can’t just grab your phone and start looking through it. In most cases, police will need a subpoena or similar legal authorization to search your phone. If authorization to search the alleged distracted driver’s phone is obtained, forensic experts will analyze the data. Analyzing cell phone data for distracted driving proves particularly helpful for time-stamped information like text messages, social media posts, and phone calls. If you know precisely when the car accident occurred, you can connect evidence gathered from the social media or text messaging activity to prove the driver was active on their phone at the time of the car accident.
Furthermore, event data recorders (EDR) in newer vehicles can be a treasure trove of information about the driver’s actions or inactions leading up to the car accident.

If you have the right Riverview car accident lawyer on your side, negligent drivers should not able to outsmart the system. There are plenty of ways law enforcement and the Riverview personal injury attorneys can collect evidence from electronic sources and witness testimony. At The Frank Santini Law Firm, we can help you if you have been the victim of a car accident and suffered serious personal injuries because the other driver was texting or reading social media posts. Call us today for a free consultation with our Riverview personal injury law firm.

Frank Santini

Founding partner Frank Santini graduated first in his law school’s class of full-time students (second overall), summa cum laude, at Stetson University. Prior to founding The Frank Santini Law Firm, Frank was a Practice Group Leader at a nationally-recognized Tampa, Florida law firm. Frank has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers and awarded the Preeminent AV Rating.