When seeking to establish liability in a vehicle collision, a key source of evidence will often be the at-fault driver’s cellphone records. A tragic hit-and-run accident case in Florida demonstrates how the police regularly use cellphone data in criminal cases – and how victims’ attorneys can make use of similar evidence in personal injury cases as well.
Cellphone Evidence Used to Place Driver at Scene of Hit-and-Run Accident
An 18-year-old motorcycle rider was killed in a late-night accident on Florida’s Gulf Coast. According to witnesses, the truck that hit him slowed down momentarily before continuing down the road. After identifying the truck involved in the hit-and-run accident, the police contact the owner, who denied that he had been driving his truck at the time of the accident.
Subsequently, the police obtained copies of the owner’s cellphone records. Those records indicated not only that he was at the scene of the accident when it occurred, but also that he had searched the Internet for information about “circumstantial evidence” and “driver charged with hit-a” (which would likely be autocompleted by the search engine) in the days following the collision. He is now facing felony charges for leaving the scene of a deadly crash and tampering with physical evidence (for allegedly attempting to hide or remove data from his phone and Facebook page).
Using Cellphone Data in a Personal Injury Claim
While this case was a criminal matter, in personal injury cases, plaintiffs can often make similar use of cellphone evidence. For example, depending on the facts of the case, cellphone data may be useful for:
- Proving that a driver was at the scene of the accident. In hit-and-run accidents like the one discussed above, cellphone records can often be used to place a vehicle owner at the scene. If the hit-and-run driver attempts to avoid liability by claiming that someone else was driving his or her vehicle, cellphone data may suggest otherwise.
- Proving that a driver was distracted when the accident occurred. A second way that accident victims can use cellphone data is to establish that a driver was distracted when the collision occurred. Distracted driving is negligent driving, and if cellphone records show that a driver was talking or texting at the time of the accident, this can help establish a claim for compensation.
Obtaining Cell Phone Records After a Car Accident
Of course, not just anyone can obtain a copy of someone else’s cellphone records. In order to collect the evidence needed for your case, your attorney will need to obtain a subpoena compelling the driver’s phone company to produce the records. This can be done only after initiating a lawsuit, which is generally the first step toward securing just compensation.
Were You Injured in an Accident in Fort Walton? Schedule a Free Consultation.
If you were injured in a car accident in Fort Walton, the personal injury lawyers at Powell, Powel & Powell, P.A. may be able help you secure financial compensation. To find out if you may be entitled to recover your medical bills, lost income and other losses, call (850) 682-2757 or contact us online today.