Determining Fault in Chattanooga Texting While Driving Accident Cases

No matter what caused your motor vehicle wreck, in order to pursue a civil claim, you must be able to prove that another party was at-fault due to some form of carelessness, recklessness, or illegal activity.

If you suffered injuries in an auto collision due to someone else’s misconduct, you have a right to hold them accountable. If you suspect that the driver responsible for your harm engaged in illegal cell phone usage that directly resulted in the car crash, immediately contact a texting while driving attorney. Dedicated legal counsel could assist with determining fault in Chattanooga texting while driving accident cases and pursue the comprehensive financial award you need to recover.

Impact of Cell Phone Use by the Defendant

Cell phone use by the defendant at the time of a collision will greatly increase the value of a plaintiff’s claim. Cell Phone use is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. Juries all over the country have shown time and time again that defendants who engage in cell phone use that causes a crash or contributes to a wreck will be punished severely. It is extremely dangerous conduct and society at large wants to deter individuals from engaging in the use of their mobile devices while operating motor vehicles.

Because of this, defendants often attempt to hide the fact that they were using their cell phones, which is one reason why it is crucial to retain an experienced personal injury attorney. Well-practiced lawyers have methods at their disposal during the discovery process to maximize the evidence recovered from a defendant’s circumstantial evidence that may support the theory that the individual was using their mobile device while driving, whether they were:

  • Talking
  • Texting
  • Surfing social media
  • Watching videos

Utilizing experts to comb through data held within a defendant’s cell phone and leveraging that data to benefit a case gives plaintiffs and attorneys the best chance of determining fault in Chattanooga texting while driving crash cases and maximizing recovery from a distracted driver.

Impact of Cell Phone Use by the Plaintiff

A plaintiff who was improperly engaged with their mobile device during the timing of an accident will negatively affect the value of their personal injury claim. Tennessee is a comparative fault state, meaning that damage awards may be reduced by the percentage amount of fault assigned to the plaintiff for an accident that may have been avoidable.

Plaintiffs who would have had a clear chance to avoid an incident but instead engaged in usage of their cell phone may even be barred from recovering compensation from the other driver. Information regarding the use of the cell phone is made discoverable during the course of litigation, and a defense team could obtain access to a plaintiff’s cell phone hard drive that contains information about the use of their phone at the time of the collision. Additional information may come from records maintained by their cell phone provider about the usage around the time of the crash, such as:

  • Statistics
  • Text messages
  • Calls made
  • Data downloaded

While some of this information may not convincingly prove that a plaintiff was without a doubt using their cell phone at the exact time of the accident, it will raise a question of fact with a jury as to what may have been distracting them near the time of a wreck.

This type of factual question will negatively impact a plaintiff’s claim for financial recovery as we as a society continue to have a tremendous distaste for individuals who text while driving. As it is one of the most dangerous behaviors that anyone can engage in on the road, juries often seek to deter such conduct regardless of whether it was a defendant or a plaintiff who engaged in the behavior.

Impact of Cell Phone Use by Both the Defendant and the Plaintiff

As comparative fault state, in cases where both the defendant driver and the injured plaintiff engaged in unlawful phone usage while driving, the jury or judge will try to apportion some amount of fault between the two parties. If the plaintiff is 50 percent or more at fault, it will bar their ability to recover from the defendant. If the plaintiff is less than 50 percent at fault, but more than zero percent at fault, the damage awarded will be reduced by that percentage.

The use of a cell phone will be one of the factors will be evaluated during the course of a trial or in settlement negotiations, though it is often a difficult task to assign a number to how the fault should be apportioned between the two parties.

In most texting while driving accident cases in Chattanooga where both parties are found to have engaged in illegal cell phone use, assigning a portion of fault comes down to intangible factors during the course of the trial—many of which have nothing at all to do with the actual use of the phones by the parties. Factors such as who the jury perceives that they like more or if allegations of comparative fault are made by the defendant attorney could carry substantial weight.

In such instances, it is almost impossible to know which way the case will break until the jury comes back with the verdict; however, plaintiffs who enlist the help of a seasoned injury attorney substantially maximize their chance of recovery and minimize the effectiveness of the defense.

Contact an Attorney for Help with Determining Fault in Chattanooga Texting While Driving Accident Cases

Determining fault in Chattanooga texting while driving accident cases can be quite the challenge, especially if you try to handle it on your own. A knowledgeable legal professional could be a valuable ally. They could investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash and collect the evidence necessary to argue that the defendant driver alone engaged in illegal phone usage. Call now to set up an initial case review.

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