How to Prove a Texting and Driving Accident in New York

how to prove a texting and driving accident in new york

While many drivers know how dangerous distracted driving, especially texting and driving, can be, they may still check their cell phones while behind the wheel. According to many driving statistics, cell phone use on the road is a major cause of accidents. Even looking at a text message while at a traffic light or stop sign puts you and other drivers at risk of harm. 

When distracted drivers cause car accidents, it can be difficult to prove that the texting driver was, in fact, involved in distracted driving. However, due to the rise of fatal accidents caused by distracted drivers, legal professionals, law enforcement, and crash experts have found ways to prove whether or not someone was texting and driving. Below, we’ll go into some of the techniques they use to help develop a case against the texting driver.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of distracted driving, the Albany texting and driving accident attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck are here to help. We know exactly what evidence to gather and will know how to prove that the at-fault driver was texting while driving or was otherwise distracted.

Call our Albany car accident attorneys at 518-456-0082 to discuss your case with a legal professional on our team at no cost to you.

How Common Are Texting and Driving Accidents in the U.S.?

According to U.S. texting and driving statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 800,000 crashes in 2021 were caused by distracted drivers. That number accounts for just over 13% of all motor vehicle crashes that year. About 8% of all accidents that year were specifically related to cell phone use, and more than half of those were caused by drivers ages 15-30.

A survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that 10% of drivers admit to sending or reading text messages while driving.

For a ten-year span ranging from 2011 to 2021, crashes involving cell phone use accounted for about 13% of fatal crashes that involved a mental distraction, according to texting and driving statistics from the driving statistics from the National Safety Council.

24 states have banned cell phone use while driving, and 48 states have banned texting and driving, according to the National Safety Council.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that answering a text message takes your attention away from driving for five seconds. If you’re traveling at 55mph, that is enough time to travel the distance of a standard football field. According to texting and driving statistics, that’s how dangerous texting and driving can be.

According to the United States Department of Transportation FMCSA, commercial drivers participating in interstate commerce cannot use cell phones or engage in texting and driving while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

How Many Teen Crashes Involve Distraction?

How Common Are Texting and Driving Accidents in the U.S

39% of teen drivers admit to texting and driving, according to the CDC.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teen drivers, or young drivers ages between 15-17, are 21% less likely to be involved in fatal accidents when there are no passengers in the vehicle to divert the driver’s attention.

In addition to sharing traffic safety facts about this dangerous behavior, parents should model safe driving by not using a cell phone or texting and driving, especially in front of teens or novice drivers. Parents should explain the longstanding effects on drivers, especially teen drivers, who inadvertently cause fatal car accidents.

If your child is a teen driver who has been injured by another driver who was texting and driving, an Albany child injury lawyer can help your family pursue damages against the other driver.

Common Types of Injuries From Texting and Driving Crashes

Texting while driving poses several significant risk factors to road safety and can lead to a wide range of serious and often catastrophic injuries. Some of the most common types of injuries associated with distracted driving accidents include:

Texting while driving not only jeopardizes your safety but also puts others, including children, at risk of serious bodily injury and even death. 

New York Texting and Driving Laws

How Many Teen Crashes Involve Distraction

In the state of New York, texting while driving isn’t just dangerous–it’s illegal. Drivers are not allowed to interact with a hand-held cell phone in any way while driving. This includes doing things like:

  • Taking or making phone calls
  • Texting while driving
  • Reading text messages or emails while driving
  • Using cell phones to look at the internet
  • Taking pictures with their cell phone
  • Playing games on their cell phone
  • Watching videos on their cell phone or other electronic devices

New York Texting and Driving Penalties

Distracted driving punishments in New York include:

  • A fine of $50 to $200 if it’s the first offense
  • A fine of $50 to $250 if it’s the second offense
  • A fine of $50 to $450 if it’s the third or subsequent offense.

Each time someone is caught driving while using their cell phone, including texting and driving, they will have up to 5 driver violation points added to their driving record. These can increase car insurance rates and, after receiving 11 points, could even cause them to have their license suspended.

Can You Sue a Distracted Driver After a Crash?

Yes, If you were in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the distracted driver who caused the accident. In fatal crashes, the victim’s immediate family members may be able to file a distracted driving lawsuit on their loved one’s behalf. 

New York Car Accident Claims

Is New York a No-Fault State? New York is a “no-fault” state, meaning victims can recover compensation from their car insurance company for certain losses, regardless of who caused the car accident. However, car insurance may not be able to cover the full extent of the damages caused by the accident. In crashes involving serious injury or death, victims should contact an Albany fatal car accident lawyer regarding their case.

An experienced Albany personal injury attorney can help walk accident victims through the legal process and can help them build a strong legal case against the at-fault driver. If you have suffered from a distracted driving accident, our attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck are here to help provide you with the legal representation you deserve. 

Call us at 518-456-0082 to schedule a free initial case evaluation with a member of our team.

Potential Liable Parties in a Texting and Driving Accident

There are a number of different people who can be found liable in a texting and driving accident. Normally, the at-fault driver is the driver who caused the accident, which can include people such as:

  • Passenger vehicle drivers
  • Commercial drivers
  • School bus drivers
  • Teen drivers
  • Novice drivers

How to Prove Texting While Driving Accident Cases

texting while driving accidents new york

It can be difficult to prove that a person was texting while driving at the time of the accident, but skilled attorneys will know how to prove driver distraction in court. Below are some of the best ways that attorneys can prove texting while driving. 

Cell Phone Records

Gathering cell phone records is a crucial step in establishing evidence of texting and driving. Subpoenaing the distracted driver’s phone records can reveal timestamps of text messages or phone use during the time of the accident. 

Almost every hand-held cell phone has traceable data attached to it, and analyzing this data can provide a clear timeline and help correlate distractions with the time of the collision. Victims of these kinds of car crashes should contact an auto accident attorney who can help gather records and other related evidence.

How Far Back Can Text Messages Be Subpoenaed?

There is no law or statute that sets limitations on how far back text messages can be subpoenaed. Most cell phone companies keep records for 1-2 years.

How Much Does it Cost to Subpoena Text Messages?

The cost to obtain text message records through a subpoena varies. Providers have varying charges, so the cost can range from under $100 to a few thousand dollars.

However, for texting and driving cases, phone records can help your Albany distracted driving accident lawyer prove negligence per se. If you were involved in an auto accident, and you can prove the other driver was texting and driving at the time of the accident, this proves he or she was the at-fault driver since New York has banned texting and driving.

Witness Statements

Eyewitness accounts can significantly strengthen any legal case, but they can be especially useful in cases involving motor vehicle crashes. Witnesses can provide valuable insights into the actions of the driver, contributing to a comprehensive narrative of the events leading to the accident. 

Oftentimes, when people use cell phones in the car, they will either hold the phone up near the steering wheel to help them split their attention between their cell phone and the road, or they will have the phone near their lap and will frequently glance down while driving. Other drivers who witnessed the accident can confirm whether or not they noticed this dangerous behavior or any other tell-tale signs of distracted driving.

A police officer at the scene of the accident will likely collect and record any witness statements, but it’s important to gather contact information from any witnesses, if possible. Promptly recording witness statements can help preserve an accurate recollection of the incident before the memories start to fade.

Obtaining Video From Intersections or Security Cameras

Intersection cameras and security footage from establishments near where the accident occurred can serve as powerful pieces of evidence. These recordings may capture any distracted driving behavior leading up to the accident, offering visual proof that the driver was texting while driving.

Law enforcement should act swiftly to secure these recordings, as surveillance footage is often overwritten or erased after a certain period. Victims should collaborate with their legal team to ensure these videos are accessed and preserved for use in future legal proceedings.

Searching the Distracted Driver’s Vehicle

Another way to prove that a car crash was caused by texting and driving is by searching the at-fault driver’s vehicle. The driver’s mobile phone, tablet, GPS, or other electronic devices may have been used at the time of the accident, so if any of these devices are present in the car, they should be investigated and analyzed.

If police have reason to suspect that the accident was caused by a distracted driver, they will likely search the vehicle of the car that caused the accident. It’s important that they conduct a thorough search and find any tangible evidence that could establish the driver was distracted during the critical moments leading up to the collision.

Accident Reconstruction and Expert Testimony

In some cases, professional accident reconstruction can also help prove whether or not someone was texting while driving. This often occurs in cases where other forms of evidence aren’t available or in situations where the car accident is serious or fatal. 

Experts can reconstruct the accident to help determine whether or not the accident was possible to avoid. If the accident could have been prevented with safe driving habits, then the accident was likely caused by some form of negligence, like distracted driving. These experts can also testify in court on their findings and provide the court with their professional analysis of the accident.

Texting and Driving Accident Damages

Texting and driving can cause serious and even fatal crashes, and victims of these accidents often suffer from serious losses. Victims can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to help recover compensation for damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Funeral and burial expenses in the event of a fatal car accident

Albany Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys

Distracted driving, while common, can have serious consequences not just for the distracted driver but for other drivers and passengers as well. If you or a loved one has suffered from a motor vehicle crash as a result of distracted driving, you deserve justice. Luckily, the Albany accident attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck are here to help. 

With over 40 years of experience handling personal injury cases like serious and fatal car accidents, we understand how hard these accidents can be on victims and their immediate family members. Not only will we provide you with the care and compassion you need, but we will also fight hard to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Call us at 518-456-0082 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a skilled car accident attorney on our team.


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