Preserving Cell Phone Evidence in Motor Vehicle Accident Cases

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to act quickly to preserve evidence favorable to your case.  Cell phone records provide an instructive illustration of this concept.

Some traffic accidents are caused by drivers who are distracted by their cell phones.  In such cases, there are two primary avenues of evidence preservation.  First, it is crucial to demand that the cell phone carrier preserve the at-fault driver’s cell phone records.  Those records can then be subpoenaed and used to show that the driver was talking on the phone, texting, or surfing the web.

Second, it’s important to demand that the at-fault driver preserve the cell phone itself.  The cell phone can provide additional information not contained in the records obtained from the carrier, such as the content of text messages or even GPS data about where the driver has traveled.  Extracting that data will require the assistance of a skilled forensic cell phone expert.   Also some modern cars may have the equivalent of a black box of driving data that may provide useful information about the vehicle at the time of the car accident.

Obtaining cell phone records and data is particularly critical in truck accident cases.  Drivers of commercials vehicles such as semi-trailer trucks are subject to regulations that ordinary drivers are not, such as maximum weekly driving hours.  Demonstrating that a truck driver’s cell phone records are inconsistent with his or her log book can be an effective way of proving negligence in a truck accident case.

The key takeaway is that it is vital to act quickly to ensure that cell phone evidence is preserved.  The statute of limitations will provide a certain number of years to bring a personal injury claim arising from a motor vehicle accident – two in Virginia, and three in Maryland and the District of Columbia.  However, that does not mean that all relevant evidence will necessarily be preserved throughout that period.

For more information or for a free legal consultation, call the Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey.

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