Across South Carolina, auto and trucking accidents are causing injury and changing lives. Many of these crashes are as preventable as they are life-changing. In a high percentage of cases, the at-fault driver was distracted. Before smartphones, people could not browse the internet, email, text, and talk with only one device. Now they can – even while they drive. If you’ve done it, you know it’s dangerous. If you have trouble believing that it’s as common as the media portrays, know that millions of emails and text messages are sent from drivers every year. Cell phone companies have the records to prove it.
When a new client comes in for a consultation, one subject we discuss is whether the client saw the at-fault party prior to the crash. If so, I want to know if the at-fault driver was talking on a cell phone or looking down before he/she injured my client. I also talk to witnesses about whether they saw or suspected cell phone use.
If we cannot settle a case without filing a lawsuit, one of the first items I subpoena in most car accident cases is the Defendant’s cell phone records. My staff and I then check for incoming/outgoing calls, text messages, and Internet capability. We also review social media sites to determine whether any “posts” or “tweets” were made from the Defendant’s phone near the time of the accident.
Many people view texting and driving as a reckless, willful act. When it causes injury to another, jurors often believe the Defendant’s recklessness warrants punitive damages. For this reason, punitive damages are demanded in every lawsuit I file where the at-fault party was texting while driving. As an attorney, my job is to maximize clients’ recovery and help deter dangerous behavior. Seeking punitive damages is one part of this job in cases where another driver placed a “smartphone” ahead of my client’s safety.
For help determining whether the driver who harmed you was distracted by a cell phone at the time of your accident, call my Columbia, SC office today at (803) 790-2800.