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How To Prove That Distracted Driving Caused A Crash

distracted drivingAn allegation that another driver was distracted is not enough to prove that distracted driving caused a car crash. If the police officer suspects that a driver is alcohol-impaired, the officer can have the driver take a breathalyzer test. But how can you prove that the other driver was not giving their full attention to the road and that distraction caused the crash?

We use many ways to prove that the other driver was not paying as close attention to the road as they should have been. They include any of the following:

• Cell phones: Sometimes police will check the cell phones of people who have crashed to see if they had apps open or were talking or texting at the time of the crash. The officer may confiscate the phone as evidence of distracted driving. However, in our experience, this is rare.

• Cell phone records: If the evidence is not on the cell phone, your personal injury lawyer can subpoena the records of the other driver’s cell phone service provider to prove that the driver was not giving the road their full attention. But there must be evidence the driver was using a cell phone first.

• Car data: Many newer cars contain technological advances geared toward safety. Some of these gadgets keep a record of essential safety information, such as how fast the car was going or whether someone was fiddling with the stereo or navigation system controls just before the crash.

• Fellow Passengers: A passenger of the negligent driver may testify that the driver was engaging in distracted driving, especially since the driver’s behavior exposed that passenger to the risk of harm.

• People in other vehicles: Unfortunately, we frequently see drivers in other cars texting and engaging in other dangerous acts while driving. You do not have to be in the car to see this behavior. We can interview drivers and passengers of other vehicles who may have seen the driver from your accident focused on things other than driving.

• Other eyewitnesses: Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and bystanders may have seen the driver driving recklessly before the crash. We do not limit ourselves to asking only drivers and passengers what they saw. Other eyewitnesses can provide compelling testimony.

• Security camera footage: With more closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras going up all the time, we can trace back the route the driver took to see if there were security cameras that might have captured valuable video evidence of distracted driving. We will contact the owner of the security camera and request the footage to see if it contains useful evidence.

• Crash reconstruction experts: In some cases, we use crash reconstruction experts to prove that the only explanation for the crash was the driver not paying attention to the road.

WHAT CONSTITUTES DISTRACTED DRIVING?

Distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in any behavior that takes their mind off of the road. Distractions can include:

• Texting
• Talking on the phone, even in hands-free mode
• Using apps, such as Facebook, messaging, games, and music apps
• Using the car’s audio system (changing radio stations, etc.)
• Checking email
• Using the car’s navigation system
• Grooming
• Eating
• Talking with passengers in the front or back seat of the vehicle
• Reading – yes, people do read books and other things while driving
• Taking photos or videos

WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO DRIVE DISTRACTED?

Driving while distracted is a common problem for everyone, but statistics suggest that it is a larger problem for some groups than others.

• People stuck in traffic jams: Insurance industry experts suggest that during periods of heavy traffic congestion, people are more likely to use their cell phones to call people, send text messages, and read their emails. And when traffic is congested, people have many opportunities to be distracted. So, when you are stuck in heavy traffic, stay alert to what the drivers around you are doing.

• Teens: According to AAA, teen drivers are the most distraction-impaired drivers on the road. They found that teen drivers are not paying attention to the road about one-quarter of the time. Even when the teen turns their attention back to the road, it takes about 27 seconds for them to be fully engaged in driving. A lot can happen in 27 seconds. A car traveling 65 miles an hour will travel more than 2,500 feet in 27 seconds, a distance of more than eight football fields!

Pro Tip: Get as much information as possible on the scene of the crash. Witnesses who were not involved in the crash can
often be critical and are most often lost because people don’t make sure to get their names and contact information.

Contact Experienced New Hampshire Attorneys for Your Distracted Driving Injury Case

Have you or a loved one been injured by another person who was engaged in distracted driving? If so, it is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!

For a free consultation, contact the Manchester injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 239-2315 or by email at info@MZLawNH.com. We may also be contacted by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

nh car accident lawyers

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How to Determine Liability in a Manchester Car Accident Case

Whether you win your Manchester car accident case depends on who is at fault or whether there was a condition or defect in the automobile that caused your injuries.  The majority of car accidents are caused by one or more of the following.

  • The negligence of a driver of a vehicle
  • Unsafe or poor road conditions
  • A problem or defect in the automobile

This is a summary of the ways in which another party besides you incurs liability in a Manchester car accident case.  Examples are provided.

Driver Negligence

The most common cause of car crashes is driver negligence.  These are some examples of situations where a driver may or may not be found liable for injuries sustained by the plaintiff (you) in a car crash.

  • Driver is impaired. This refers to situations when a driver is not capable or competent to operate a motor vehicle and does so anyway.  Some examples are driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a prescription drug or falling asleep at the wheel.  If a driver was under the influence or otherwise could not function while driving, and that condition led to the car accident which caused the plaintiff’s injuries, there is a very strong likelihood that the impaired driver will be liable for your injuries.  In the case of driving while under the influence, civil liability would be in addition to any criminal fines and penalties.
  • Driver fails to abide by the rules of the road. This refers to situations where a driver fails to observe traffic signals, speed laws, road conditions, pedestrian traffic, and other Rules of the Road.  Examples would be running a red light, failing to turn on headlights at night, driving too fast in a residential area, and swerving in and out of traffic.  In these instances, liability is likely going to be clear. If the driver’s failure to abide by the rules of the road caused the accident that led to your injuries, then the driver will be liable.
  • Driver does not pay attention while driving. This refers to situations where a driver is inattentive to the road while driving.  There are a variety of distractions for a driver on any given day.  Examples include calling or texting, checking on children in the back seat, looking through a glove compartment, putting on make-up, changing the radio station, and reading while driving.  If the driver of a vehicle fails to keep their eyes on the road and that failure causes an auto accident which leads to the plaintiff’s injuries, then the driver will probably be liable.

Poor or Unsafe Road Conditions

Road conditions often play a part in a Manchester car accident case.  In these situations, the fault is not always with the driver of a vehicle.  Whether you have a claim depends on the circumstances of your case.  For example, if a construction site around a curve is unsigned and poorly lit, you probably have a case. These are some examples of road conditions which could lead to auto accidents.

  • Poorly marked signs
  • Construction sites
  • Potholes or other items on the road
  • Uneven paving in the lanes
  • Bad instructions from a flag man

If you are injured as a result of unsafe road conditions, you might not only have a claim against another driver, but also against a governmental agency or entity if they failed to keep the road safe for drivers.

Vehicle in Poor Condition or Defective

Defective or badly conditioned vehicles can be dangerous.  If you are injured as a result of a defective or poorly maintained vehicle, you may have several defendants to choose from.

  • The owner of the vehicle. If a vehicle owner improperly maintained their vehicle and that led to an accident, then the owner of the vehicle will be liable for your injuries.  For example, if an owner of a vehicle knew they had improperly functioning brakes, neglected to repair those brakes, and did not stop in time which caused an accident, the driver will be liable for any injuries that you incur.
  • A mechanic or auto body repair shop. If you have your car repaired and maintained regularly, and get into a crash as a result of a mechanic’s failure to properly repair or maintain a vehicle, that mechanic or repair person could be liable for damages incurred by you and the driver of the other vehicle.
  • Defective product. This refers to situations where the vehicle was defective when it was delivered from the factory.  Some examples are improperly deploying air bags, faulty brakes or steering systems, or improperly affixed tires.  If any such defects existed in either your car or the other driver’s car and contributed to a Manchester car accident case, you could have a claim against the company that produced either the vehicle or the part of the vehicle that did not function properly.  If these conditions existed in the other driver’s car, then you could have a claim against the other driver as well.

If you are injured as a result of your car not functioning properly, it is important that you have your vehicle inspected immediately afterwards to determine what caused the accident.  If you are injured as a result of the other driver’s vehicle not functioning properly, it is essential that you take steps to ensure that their vehicle is promptly inspected to determine what condition caused the accident.

Contact a Manchester Car Accident Case Injury Attorney

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, contact a Manchester car accident case attorney at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC at (603) 624-7200.