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How to Prove Cell Phone Liability for Auto Accidents in Arizona

Posted On 10/13/20 by Begam Marks & Traulson, PA

Cell phones are behind many auto accidents in Arizona and around the US. In 2018 alone, 2,841 people died in car accidents involving distracted drivers. Nine percent of all fatal accidents in the last seven years have involved driver distractions. The number one driver distraction is the cell phone. Cell phones are so dangerous that 48 states and Washington, DC have passed laws to make it illegal to text and drive. If you believe the person who caused your car accident was using a cell phone at the time of the crash, learn how to prove cell phone liability.

Call the Police

Always call the police from the scene of an auto accident in Arizona, especially if it caused injuries, deaths or expensive property damages. The police can help investigate the accident and note things such as a lack of brake marks in the road that could point to a distracted driver. The other driver may also admit to having been on his or her cell phone at the time of the accident. If so, this will go on the official police report and allow you to easily establish cell phone liability.

Although Arizona is one of the only states that does not have a universal ban on texting while driving, the other driver could still receive a citation for reckless driving. This might be the case if the driver’s cell phone caused him or her to break a road rule, such as the speed limit or rights-of-way. The police might also cite a driver for texting while driving if your crash took place in a city that has a municipal law against it. These include Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson and Flagstaff. Pima and Coconino Counties have also banned texting and driving.

Take Photographs

While still at the scene of the crash, use your cell phone to take pictures of the inside of the other driver’s car if you see something that might have caused driver distraction. This includes fast-food wrappers, drinks, electronic devices and cell phones. You should also capture images of details from the scene of the crash that could point to the other driver being distracted. Photographs from the scene of the accident could help you prove what caused your crash.

Talk to Witnesses

Someone may have witnessed the other driver talking on his or her cell phone, texting and driving, or using one hand to drive while the other was on a cell phone. Write down the names and contact numbers of everyone who personally witnessed the accident. Ask around to see if anybody saw the driver in the moments leading up to the crash. Someone might have spotted the driver looking down at his or her phone right before the crash. If so, the eyewitness’s statement could help you prove cell phone liability during an injury claim in Arizona.

Subpoena the Driver’s Cell Phone Records

Another common way for an injured accident victim to prove cell phone liability is to gain access to the other driver’s cell phone records. You can do this through a court subpoena. Hiring a car accident lawyer in Phoenix could make it easier to subpoena the other driver’s cell phone records. With these records, your lawyer can look up the exact time and date of the car accident to see if the driver was accessing his or her cell phone at that time.

Evidence that the driver sent a text message, took a picture or made a phone call in the seconds before the crash could prove that he or she was distracted. In some cases, it may not be necessary to prove that the driver was on his or her phone at the exact moment of the crash. Cell phone records indicating a high rate of use throughout the day could be enough to convince a judge that the driver was distracted.