Can Cell Phone Records Help Establish Fault After a Distracted Driving Accident?
May 23, 2022
While drivers may engage in a wide variety of distractions while behind the wheel, one of the most common and dangerous kinds of distractions while driving is cell phone use. These days, it can seem like everyone is always on their cell phone to text, email, or browse social media or the internet. Unfortunately, some people cannot seem to be able to pry themselves away from their phones while they are driving. When a car accident is caused by distracted driving, cell phone records might be critical to proving that the at-fault driver was distracted in the moments leading up to the crash.
Obtaining Cell Phone Records after a Motor Vehicle Accident
Cell phones generate a substantial amount of metadata, much of which flows through the cell phone carrier’s networks. Cell service providers know when their customers make or receive phone calls, write or send texts, and access the internet. However, cell phone companies do not willingly hand this information over to anyone who asks for it, as carriers have an interest in maintaining the privacy and goodwill of their customers.
To obtain the other driver’s cell phone records from a cell service provider after a motor vehicle accident, you or your attorney will likely need to obtain a court order directing the provider to disclose the records.
In addition, metadata regarding cell phone usage might also be kept by websites and social media platforms. Similarly, a court order during a motor vehicle accident case can require website or social media platform operators to turn over data regarding a driver’s usage of those platforms in the moments leading up to a crash.
Finally, cell phones themselves keep their own usage metadata, including when the phone is on, when the screen is active, what applications are used and when they are used, and even user inputs. During an investigation, a court order can also require this metadata from a driver’s cell phone to be turned over.
How Cell Phone Records Can Establish Fault for a Crash
Cell phone records and metadata can be helpful to prove that a driver caused a motor vehicle accident because they were distracted by their phone. For example, while a driver may claim that they were not on their phone right before or during an accident, cell phone records can disprove that claim. Records and metadata can show that a driver was on a call, received or sent a text, or was using internet data in the moments leading up to a crash. Similarly, social media posts often have date stamps; a post, comment, or “like” that was made by a driver right before a motor vehicle accident can also prove that they were distracted right before the crash.
How a Lawyer Can Help
When you suspect that the other driver may have been on their cell phone right before the accident, a car accident attorney can help you build your case by conducting a thorough investigation to uncover evidence proving that the driver was using their phone. This may mean making a request to the cell phone company for records, reviewing social media posts, or even going to court to get an order to obtain records and other metadata.
Contact a Rochelle Park Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Distracted Driving Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a distracted driving accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm represent clients injured because of distracted driving accidents in Jersey City, Union City, Bayonne, Hoboken, and throughout New Jersey. Call 201-231-7847 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.