Truck Accidents Involving Cell Phone Use
According to state law, drivers are no longer allowed to use their cell phones in any way while driving unless that use is done through a hands-free device, Bluetooth, or the like. In essence, drivers cannot hold a cell phone while driving.
Truck drivers are just like other motorists and sometimes make a poor decision to use a cell phone while they are driving. If a trucker becomes distracted or takes his or her eyes off the roadway because he or she is using a cell phone, he or she may cause a serious accident and be liable for any damages that result. Therefore, if you were in a Virginia truck accident that was a result of cell phone use, you should reach out to the attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers.
Claimant Cell Phone Use Causing an Accident
In Virginia, if a claimant was using his or her cell phone at the time of the truck accident, there is risk that he or she would be unable to recover any compensation due to the contributory negligence law. Under this state law, claimants are not allowed to recover for their injuries if they contributed in any way to the cause the crash.
In this situation, the defendant would have to prove that not only was the claimant using his or her cell phone while driving, but that the distraction helped cause the wreck.
Alternatively, if the injured party was using a cell phone in a hands-free capacity, there may not be any claim that the defense could make to bar recovery on those grounds. Therefore, it is extremely important that when a motorist is out on the roadway that he or she follows the rules as they relate to cell phone usage because it could affect an injury claim that may arise. Most importantly, however, it will also keep you safe.
Truck Driver Cell Phone Use Causing an Accident
In Virginia, the use of a cell phone by a defendant allows a claimant’s lawyer to argue that the defendant was distracted from driving, and by being distracted, failed to take necessary action to avoid the truck accident. Use of a cell phone by a defendant is not necessarily in and of itself all that an injured party needs to recover damages for their injuries. However, it is something that can be a basis for a negligence claim.
If both the defendant and the plaintiff are on their cell phone at the same time, it can create problems in trying to recover damages for the injured party. In a situation where both parties were distracted by their cell phones, the defendant is going to claim that the plaintiff is also at fault. Because this situation becomes complicated, this is where retaining a lawyer who has experience in dealing with distracted driving cases can play a vital role in making sure that the claimant can recover for his or her injuries.
Evidence in a Truck Accident Case Involving Cell Phone Use
In a claim against a truck driver, when there is suspicion that the truck driver was using his or her cell phone, the cell phone itself is important evidence. There are certain items and data stored only on the cell phone. It is not information that can be obtained from the cell service provider or through billing records. Additionally, documents from the truck driver’s company that detail the cell phone usage may also be important evidence. Many times, commercial trucking companies have detailed and accurate logs and inventories of how truckers use their cell phones, especially if it is company issued.
Requirements to Obtain Cell Phone Records Following a Crash
Parties need permission from the truck driver and/or the trucking company to obtain cell phone records unless a lawsuit has been filed. If a lawsuit has been filed, both the insurance company and the injured party can issue a subpoena duces tecum to obtain the records that document the defendant’s cell phone usage.
For law enforcement, if they have a suspicion that a truck driver was using his or her cell phone at the time of the accident, then an individual police officer would need to go to a magistrate judge and swear under oath to certain facts that would justify the issuance of a search warrant. That search warrant, if issued, would authorize the police to seize the cell phone and then to conduct a search of the cell phone.
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