Law enforcement officers cannot search personal property without warrants. They cannot search inside vehicles unless probable cause leads them to believe someone has contraband inside. This does not apply to cell phones, however. If you get arrested, and the phone is seized, they are not permitted to search it. Cell phones can only be searched with the owner’s consent if officers see the information in plain view or if there is a warrant.
It is possible to track a driver’s cell phone use at the time of an accident. While phone company records might not show what is contained in specific texts, they reveal when texts were sent and received. These timestamps can also indicate when users are having conversations or using the internet; social media posts can also be incriminating.
Prosecutors may also use expert testimony to build a stronger case for cell phone use while driving. This might involve consulting with a mobile device forensic analyst, or a cell phone company records representative. Anyone who saw you texting and driving might be called in as an eyewitness to provide their account of what happened. The following observed behaviors might indicate that a driver was on their phone during an accident:
- The cell phone’s glow if it happened at night.
- Looking down at the phone instead of at the road.
- Distracted driving behaviors, like not proceeding at green lights, failing to signal, and drifting in and out of lanes.
Protecting Your Rights
If the opposing counsel obtains your phone data, showing that you were driving safely when the crash occurred will be necessary. Depending on the circumstances, car accident lawyers can employ different defense theories when their clients are accused of causing accidents due to distraction from cell phone use.
One example might be an adult driver who let their small child play a game on their cell phone; at the time of the accident, the child was using it, not the driver. Your attorney might also seek evidence from your vehicle’s dashcam, which could show that you were focused on the road and not texting. Another defense might center around a traffic camera recording.
The other driver’s negligence might have been the leading cause of the accident, so looking into that will also take priority. Sometimes, courts decide that drivers involved in accidents share responsibility for what happened in these kinds of accidents.
Our Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Represent Drivers in Accidents Involving Cell Phone Use
If you were injured in a distracted driving accident, speak with our Delaware County car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Call us at 610-565-3701 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.