Texting is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do behind the wheel, yet countless people text and drive on our streets. When these drivers cause accidents, their victims deserve compensation. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to prove the other driver was texting at the time of your accident.
If you have been in a car accident in which the other driver was texting at the time of the accident, you need to have a personal injury lawyer evaluate your case and help obtain the evidence you need to prove your case. Call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 for help today.
Is texting and driving illegal in Washington State?
Yes. Washington State law prohibits the use of handheld cell phones while driving in RCW § 46.61.667, and specifically prohibits texting while driving in RCW § 46.61.668. There are some exceptions, such as for authorized emergency vehicles and calls for help by ordinary people who are not emergency responders.
If a driver reads, writes, or sends a text message on a wireless device, even if at a stop light or stuck in traffic, the driver has violated Washington State law.
The driver might deny texting, claiming that he was instead merely using his cell phone. Since Washington state law prohibits the use of cell phones (whether texting or talking) while driving unless the wireless device was being used in hands-free mode (i.e., using a headset, an earpiece or a speaker), this tactic is unlikely to be successful as a defense.
What should I do at the scene of the accident to prove my case?
There are several things you can and should do at the scene of the accident to preserve your claim against the driver who was texting:
- Notify the law enforcement officer at the scene that the driver was texting. The officer can take the cell phone as evidence under certain circumstances. (Note: Only do this if you saw the driver texting. Officers will likely not appreciate unfounded accusations.)
- Get the contact information of all possible eyewitnesses who may have seen the driver texting.
- Look around at the scene for any surveillance cameras that might help prove your case.
What should I do after the accident to prove my case?
After the accident, you should work with a car accident lawyer to locate and obtain all the evidence you can. For some types of evidence, your lawyer might have to use a subpoena to force the person or company to give you the evidence.
The driver's cell phone carrier is unlikely to provide the phone records voluntarily. Your lawyer might have to use a subpoena through the court to get the driver's cell phone records and to obtain surveillance camera footage from locations surrounding the scene of the accident.
Make sure to get eyewitness testimony early on, as memories can fade over time.
Make sure you get a copy of the police report. Note whether the police report mentions any use of cell phones or of text messaging by any of the drivers or passengers in the vehicles.
If the police report addresses this important issue, you and your lawyer need to discuss it. It can be very helpful if the police report identifies the cell phone service provider of the driver who was texting at the time of the accident. If it does not, there are other ways for your lawyer to obtain the necessary records.
Evidence You Need for Your Case
Car accident cases involving a texting driver need standard types of evidence typical in car accident cases, as well as some types of evidence that are unique to these cases. These can include:
- Police report information on cellphone usage and carrier
- Eyewitness testimony
- Cell phone service provider records
- Surveillance camera footage
It can be complicated and time-consuming to obtain the evidence you may need to prove that the other driver was texting at the time of the accident. Expect the insurance company to make it difficult to get the records you need, especially if the records do, in fact, show that the other driver was texting.
Dealing with the insurance company, especially if you were injured or sustained extensive property damage, can be just too much to handle.
You do not have to deal with it alone.
If you were in an accident with a driver who was texting at the time of the accident, you need to be in good hands to get the evidence required to prove your case. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, call Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 today.