When the dust and smoke clears after an auto accident, the first order of business is determining who caused the collision. If the crash was the fault of another driver, you can expect the person to deny culpability to avoid paying for your damages and losses. There are many ways you can show the other party was at fault, but here are three tactics that may provide you with compelling evidence.
Peruse the Person's Social Media Accounts
Social media has become a ubiquitous part of life in the United States, with people uploading an assortment of thoughts, images, and videos at all hours of the day. Unfortunately, people even perform these actions while on the road. According to a 2012 study conducted by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, 24 percent of people aged 17 to 24 used social media and email services while driving.
It is not unusual for people to take selfies or record video of themselves while on the road and upload the material to their Twitter, Facebook, or other social media accounts. Lucky for you, almost all social media platforms stamp a time and date on status updates when people post to the sites. Additionally, smartphones will also tag photos and video with a date, time, and geolocation, which may be visible in the images' exif (exchangeable image file format) data. You can make a strong case for the driver's liability if you can match this data to the time and date of the accident.
If the person's accounts are public, you can take screenshots of status updates, images, and videos and use it as evidence the person was not paying attention to the road before the accident occurred. Even if the person's account is set to private, you can submit a court order to make the individual provide access to an attorney if you suspect it may contain evidence supporting your case.
Request Cell Phone Records
Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents, accounting for 3,179 fatalities and 431,000 injuries by motor vehicles in 2014. There are many things that can distract the driver, but some of them include texting, talking on a cell phone, watching a video, and reading a map. According to the NHTSA, approximately 2.2 percent of drivers in 2014 were observed text-messaging or otherwise being distracted by their handheld devices.
Therefore, another way you can prove liability is to subpoena the person's cell phone statements. These records can tell you a lot about what the driver was doing when he or she collided with you. The time and date of calls and texts are all logged, so you can show the person was driving distracted if you can match those calls and messages to around the time the accident occurred.
It's important to note that cell phone companies also log how much data a person uses. However, this may not be as helpful to you because they typically only show the amount of data used per day and not the date and time the person actually logged on.
Obtain Car Tracking Data
A third option for proving the defendant is liable for the accident is to obtain data from any car tracking device he or she may be using. Some car insurance companies give policyholders discounts if they use a tracking device that monitors their driving habits. These devices record quite a bit of information that may help you prove your case, such as the vehicle's rate of speed and whether the individual used his or her brakes.
Like cell phone records, this data is private information and you'll need to use a court order to get either the defendant or insurance company to supply a copy of these records to you.
Proving the defendant is liable for an auto accident can be challenging, but modern technology can make it easier if you know where to look. For more advice on this issue or help collecting compensation for a car accident, contact an attorney like Carl L. Britt, Jr.