Determining Fault When a Cell Phone Causes A Car Accident

Car accidents | February 14, 2021

Cell phones have become ubiquitous in society. Our phones have become lifelines for just about everything that we do, from browsing social media to conducting online banking. Unfortunately, cell phones are also a leading cause of driver distraction. When a vehicle accident occurs because the driver was distracted by their cell phone, victims should be entitled to compensation for their injuries and other losses. However, determining fault in these cases can be challenging. After all, the alleged negligent driver could simply say that they were not distracted by their cell phone when the crash occurred. Here, our Chicago car accident lawyers want to discuss how to determine fault when a cell phone causes a car accident.

How is fault determined if a cell phone caused a crash?

There may be various ways that thought will be determined in the aftermath of a car accident. In general, determining responsibility involves gathering various types of evidence pertaining to the incident. In general, the following types of evidence will be gathered after a crash regardless of the cause:

  • Any video or photo surveillance of the incident
  • Statements from eyewitnesses to the crash
  • Police or accident reports
  • Vehicle “black box” data

In the event it is suspected that cell phone distraction caused a crash, there may be additional types of evidence that the injury victim and their attorney will seek. First, statements from eyewitnesses may indicate that they saw one of the drivers distracted by a cell phone before the crash occurred. However, eyewitness statements are not always reliable.

The attorney for an injury victim may work with the court system to obtain phone records of the alleged negligent driver. Phone records may be able to show a few things. First, they may show that a driver was talking on the phone at the time the crash occurred or that they were receiving or sending a text message around the time the crash occurred. Additionally, mobile device data records may indicate that a person was using their phone to do things other than talk or text. This can include using their phone to browse the Internet, browse social media, or adjust the GPS directions.

Comparative Negligence Laws and Cell Phones

In some cases, one driver is entirely at fault for an accident. These cases may be more cut and dry than others. However, it is just as likely that more than one driver played a role in a car accident. If multiple parties contributed to a crash, it may still be possible for them to recover compensation. Illinois operates under a “modified comparative negligence system.” This means that injury victims can recover compensation even if they are partially at fault for the incident, so long as they are not more than 50% responsible. However, the total amount of compensation they receive will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.

You Need to Work with an Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident caused by another driver who was distracted by their cell phone, you need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. A qualified Chicago car accident lawyer will have the resources necessary to conduct a complete investigation into the case, determine liability, and obtain full compensation for your losses. A personal injury attorney will be able to cut through the red tape associated with these cases and help ensure that you on the right path towards recovery.