Atlanta has many laws regulating the use of cell phones while driving. Drivers under 18 years of age are not allowed to use their cell phones while driving. School bus drivers cannot use a cell phone while loading and unloading passengers, nor while the bus is in motion.
All drivers, regardless of age, are banned from texting while behind the wheel. Georgia law states that drivers must exercise due care and even though it may not be illegal for someone to be on a phone or looking at their smartphone while they are driving. Being distracted is not exercising due care and can lead to a wreck and a citation. Speak with a professional car wreck lawyer for more information on accidents involving cell phones in Atlanta.
Impact of Cell Phone Use
Use of a cell phone is an example of failing to pay proper attention while driving. If a person uses a cell phone while driving and suffers an injury, it could lead to a jury concluding that the person did not exercise due care for their own safety. They could be held partially or completely at fault for causing the wreck or contributorily negligent for failing to minimize or avoid the wreck. This could mean that they may not be able to collect any compensation for their injuries.
Determining Who is At-Fault
When a jury determines a driver is at-fault and was using their phone, they could conclude the person was at-fault in accidents involving cell phones in Atlanta. That could diminish the credibility of the person defending themselves as the jury may conclude that they are unable to recall exactly what happened since they were not paying attention.
In some circumstances, it could lead to punitive damages if the at-fault driver was consciously indifferent to the consequences or was so distracted that it constituted reckless driving. It could increase the amount of the compensatory damages for the injuries and increase the amount of the verdict with punitive damages.
It is important to get the records of the cell phone. It is also important to get the phone itself because experts may be able to download data from the cell phone to identify the program a person was using at the time of the crash.
If experts can determine the exact time the wreck occurred they may also be able to cross-reference that with the activities conducted on the phone at a specific time. One of the better markers for the time a wreck occurred is seeing what time someone dialed 911. If someone obtains the 911 records and a computer aided dispatch (CAD) report, that provides the recording of the 911 call and a detailed description of when the phone call occurred.
A lawyer can extrapolate the short window of time within which the wreck occurred and can cross-reference that data with the analytics from the phone and overlay what took place on the phone at the exact time the wreck occurred. Schedule a consultation with an attorney to learn more about evidence needed to prove negligence in accidents involving cell phones in Atlanta
Seizing Phone Records
If one of the drivers receives a citation and there is a criminal charge, the law enforcement officers can issue a subpoena to search the phone and retrieve the data. Accidents involving cell phones in Atlanta may involve a person consenting to having their phone records, and other data, searched and investigated.
In the civil context, if someone suffers an injury and they file a lawsuit, either party can send a non-party document request to the other party. Either party can also send a subpoena to the person’s carrier to get data from the phone and text usage from the carrier. An expert can inspect the phone, download the data, and extrapolate what took place when the wreck occurred.