This is the second post in our series on the handling of Austin, Texas distracted driving cases. Our last post provided an overview of topics we will be discussing and stressed the need to contact an attorney if you have been the victim of negligence. Attempting to handle the matter without qualified counsel may lead to your failing to prove that the defendant was driving while distracted. In this post we address how to go about proving such conduct. Again, it is suggested that you contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.
Car accident cases are often the result of distracted driving. The increase in smartphone use has led to people driving while texting, tweeting, updating social media, or while talking on the phone. Unfortunately, such drivers will often not admit to this conduct after they cause an accident. Given that a police officer issuing a citation likely did not observe the person using the smartphone behind the wheel, such incidents often end with a police report not citing the driver for such conduct. As you may know, Austin is a hands-free city, as the Austin City council recently adopted a city ordinance prohibiting the use of portable electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle. Violations of the ordinance are Class C misdemeanors punishable with a fine up to $500.
The discovery process can assist a Plaintiff in proving that a defendant was driving while distracted. Discovery, the process by which information is obtained from the other side, allows your attorney to acquire records. Examples of documents to acquire in such a case include cell phone records, e-mail records, social media accounts, and photos from one’s smartphone and cloud storage. Cell phone call records will typically show the times at which one was talking on the phone while data usage can show if someone was otherwise using their smartphone. These records can, therefore, establish that one was engaging in non-driving activities while behind the wheel. Also, acquiring records of all photos can show whether one was taking a “selfie” or a picture of something else while driving. These are just some of the ways in which discovery can show that one was driving while distracted.
Discovery is a complicated process with many rules. If your requests for information are not timely made then the other party will not be obligated to respond. Also, there may be instances where the other side refuses to provide information on the basis of a frivolous objection. In such instances the Court can order that the information be provided. By hiring an experienced lawyer you can make sure that all possible evidence is acquired and that you maximize your chance at recovery.
Our Austin distracted driving attorney handles such accidents throughout Travis County. If you have been the victim of another’s negligence then contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We also service Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, the Williamson County cities of Georgetown, Cedar Park, and Leander, as well as other areas of Texas.