How to File an Accident Claim Against a Distracted Driver
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. As car accident attorneys, we have seen firsthand the amount of damage a distracted driver can do. Their victims deserve full support during their recovery.
However, proving distracted driving can be difficult—after all, the other person isn’t likely to offer that they were looking at their phone or trying to change the radio station when they hit you. If you don’t have someone to represent your needs, you may be denied the compensation you deserve. Here’s what you should do if you’re making a claim against a distracted driver—and how our team can help.
Preparing to File Your Claim
The steps you take directly after a car accident can either set you up for a successful claim or put you in a precarious position. After an accident, you should always:
- Call the police
- Exchange contact information with other involved parties
- Speak to any witnesses on the scene
- Take pictures of the scene and make notes about what happened
- Visit a doctor
The more you know about how the insurance claims process works, the more you can do to prepare yourself. And, the more information you have on your side, the more we can do to investigate the other party. If you have any questions, our attorneys are happy to answer them.
Proving Distraction Played a Role
In Florida, for every percentage point of fault you are assigned, your settlement will decrease. Finding strong proof of the other party’s negligence is therefore the best thing you can do to maximize your claim. Our attorneys have the investigative skill to search out and preserve evidence that will work in your favor. Here’s what we can do to find proof the other driver was distracted.
Request Phone Records
If you saw the at-fault driver holding their phone right before they hit you, we may be able to find proof they were using it. Their service provider has logs of all their texts and calls; our attorneys can request them to see whether there was activity in the time around your accident. We can also check their social media profiles, using timestamps to determine whether there was any activity in the minutes or seconds leading up to the collision.
Check the Police Report
Police are trained to use clues to examine an accident scene for any clues to who caused it. Anything they notice when responding to your crash and interviewing the drivers and witnesses will end up in their final report. Our team can request a copy to see what the police thought—and whether it supports your claim that the other driver wasn’t paying attention.
Reach Out to Witnesses
If you were able to get contact information from any witnesses to the accident, we can reach out and interview them about what they saw. Because third-party witnesses have no stake in the outcome of an accident claim, their claims are often more credible than either of the drivers’ statements.
Look for Footage of the Wreck
Dashboard, traffic, or surveillance cameras often catch collisions from an angle that provides a full view of a driver’s actions. Determining whether any footage exists may take some work, including visiting the accident scene to see whether any businesses or other entities nearby may have captured it. However, this footage can be extremely valuable in proving another party’s fault, which is why our attorneys take the time to look into all possible sources.
Distraction Can Be Wide-Ranging
Though cell phone use is one of the most common types of distraction, anything from eating to fixing your hair or clothing while driving can make someone more likely to cause an accident. There are 3 ways a driver’s attention may be pulled away from their task:
- Cognitive (or mental) distraction, where they are thinking about something other than driving.
- Manual distraction, where their hands are not on the wheel.
- Visual distraction, where they are looking somewhere other than the road in front of them.
Given the wide range of activities these guidelines encompass, it would be nearly impossible for any state to ban all types of distractions. However, the at-fault driver didn’t have to be breaking a law for their actions to be cited as the cause of your accident. All you have to be able to prove is that the driver was distracted and that this caused them to hit you. Ask your attorney how they handle distracted driving claims to learn if they only look at cell phone use or take a broader view.
We Can Handle Your Distracted Driving Claim
We never settle for less compensation than our clients deserve. If you have been seriously injured, you need a tough and dedicated firm like Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. on your side. Often, proving a distracted driving claim takes an investigative team that won’t back down. We have the resources and determination to pursue these cases.
We also want to take this moment to remind you that your distracted driving could endanger yourself and others. It’s hard to keep other needs or obligations from encroaching on driving time. However, you don’t want to be the one on the other side of an accident claim. This Distracted Driving Awareness Month, join us in pledging to put down your phone, save your dinner for home, and focus only on driving.
Call Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. if you have questions about a distracted driving accident. Our attorneys are here 24/7 to help.