Distracted driving refers to any activity that averts a Louisiana driver’s attention from the task at hand. Though texting while driving is the most common form of distracted driving, distracted driving may also include eating, talking on the phone, drinking, playing with the radio, talking with passengers and fiddling with a GPS system, among other activities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving caused the deaths of 3,166 innocent individuals in 2017 alone. As gadgets become more commonplace, those numbers are only likely to increase.
Distracted driving accidents can leave a victim and his or her family in serious financial duress. In addition to dealing with financial hardship, the victim must also contend with injuries, medical expenses, lost work and other complications that stem from serious injury. Fortunately, Louisiana law allows victims of car accidents to pursue compensation through a car accident injury claim. However, to prevail in such a suit, the victim must prove that the at-fault driver was distracted at the time of impact. FindLaw explains how he or she may do that.
The first and most obvious way to prove distracted driving is to get the other driver to admit to it. However, defense lawyers in car accident cases often advise their clients against admitting fault or saying anything that could hurt their cases. For this reason, plaintiffs should not rely on this form of proof.
A second way to prove distracted driving is through police reports or officer testimony. The officer who arrived at the scene may have conducted a preliminary assessment and made note of details such as a cell phone in the driver’s seat, a half-eaten hamburger on the passenger seat or a witness’s claim that he or she saw the driver playing with a cell phone right before impact.
A third way to prove distracted driving is to pull up the at-fault driver’s cell phone records. If the records show that the driver sent or received a text message or phone call at the time of the crash, it may be sufficient evidence to prove distracted driving.
Witness testimony is a fourth way car accident victims can prove distracted driving. If a bystander or police officer saw the driver driving in a distracted manner prior to impact, he or she can testify on behalf of the plaintiff.
The fifth and final way to prove distracted driving is through videos or photos. A traffic cam or nearby surveillance camera may have caught the driver doing something other than driving, such as reaching into the backseat, sending a text message, applying makeup or engaging in some other form of distraction.