Proving Negligence: How an Attorney Establishes Liability in Texting-Related Car Accidents


Texting while driving is a dangerous and illegal activity that has become a significant cause of car accidents in recent years. When a driver is distracted by their phone and causes a collision, they can be held liable for their negligence. Proving negligence in texting-related car accidents is essential to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable for their actions and that victims receive the compensation they deserve. In this article, we will explore how an attorney can establish negligence in texting-related accidents, shedding light on the legal processes and evidence required to build a strong case.

  • Duty of Care

To prove negligence in a texting-related car accident, an attorney must first establish that the at-fault driver owed a duty of care to others on the road. This duty of care is a fundamental principle in personal injury law, and it means that all drivers have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly. This includes refraining from activities that distract them from the primary task of driving, such as texting.

Attorneys for car accidents can argue that by getting behind the wheel, the driver implicitly agrees to adhere to this duty of care. Therefore, texting while driving is considered a breach of that duty because it diverts their attention away from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.

  • Breach of Duty

The next crucial element in proving negligence is demonstrating that the at-fault driver breached their duty of care. In texting-related car accidents, this breach typically involves providing evidence that the driver was, in fact, texting or using a mobile device at the time of the collision.

Attorneys use various methods to establish this breach of duty:

  1. Cell Phone Records: Attorneys can subpoena cell phone records to confirm whether the driver was texting or using their phone at the time of the accident. These records can reveal the timing and content of text messages, phone calls, and internet activity.
  2. Witness Statements: Eyewitnesses to the accident may provide statements indicating that they saw the driver using their phone while driving. Their testimony can be instrumental in proving the breach of duty.
  3. Police Reports: If law enforcement officers respond to the accident scene, their reports may include observations and statements from the involved parties and witnesses regarding the use of a mobile device by the at-fault driver.
  4. Expert Testimony: Accident reconstruction experts and technology specialists can be called upon to analyze the evidence and testify to the driver’s distracted behavior. They can provide valuable insights into the causation of the accident.
  • Causation

Establishing that the at-fault driver was texting at the time of the accident is only one part of proving negligence. Attorneys must also demonstrate that this distracted behavior directly caused or contributed to the collision. This can be challenging but is a crucial element in establishing liability.

Attorneys use various pieces of evidence to establish causation:

  1. Timing: Correlating the timing of the text messages or phone use with the timing of the accident can be a strong indicator of causation. If the texts were sent or received just moments before the collision, it suggests that the distraction played a role.
  2. Accident Reconstruction: Experts in accident reconstruction can analyze the physical evidence, vehicle positions, and other factors to determine how the distraction contributed to the accident.
  3. Eyewitness Testimony: Eyewitnesses who saw the at-fault driver engaged in distracted behavior just before the collision can provide critical testimony regarding causation.
  • Damages

In a personal injury case, it’s essential to demonstrate the extent of damages suffered by the victim as a result of the accident. Damages can include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Attorneys gather and present evidence to show the financial, physical, and emotional toll the accident has taken on their client.

Medical records, bills, and expert testimony from healthcare providers can establish the extent of the victim’s injuries and the costs associated with their treatment. Additionally, witnesses, including the victim, can testify about the pain and suffering they experienced due to the accident.

  • Comparative Negligence

In some cases, the at-fault driver may argue that the victim also contributed to the accident through their own negligence. This can affect the determination of liability and the amount of compensation the victim may receive. Attorneys must be prepared to address comparative negligence claims by presenting evidence to support their client’s case.

  • Expert Witnesses

To strengthen the case and provide a comprehensive understanding of the accident, attorneys may enlist the help of expert witnesses. These experts can include accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and technology experts. Accident reconstruction specialists can provide a detailed analysis of the accident to demonstrate causation, while medical professionals can explain the extent of the victim’s injuries. Technology experts can testify about the driver’s phone use and its contribution to the accident.

  • Settlement Negotiations or Courtroom Representation

Once the attorney has gathered all necessary evidence and built a strong case, they will engage in negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or legal representation. The goal is to reach a fair settlement that compensates the victim for their damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the attorney will be prepared to take the case to court. In court, they will present the evidence, witnesses, and expert testimony to establish negligence and prove the victim’s entitlement to compensation.

Texting while driving is a dangerous and negligent behavior that can lead to devastating accidents. Attorneys play a crucial role in establishing negligence in texting-related car accidents, ensuring that victims receive the compensation they deserve. By demonstrating the at-fault driver’s breach of duty, causation, and the extent of damages, attorneys help hold distracted drivers accountable for their actions. If you have been involved in a texting-related car accident, seeking legal representation is essential to protect your rights and pursue justice.

Eric Lilly
the authorEric Lilly