South Dakota enacted a law banning the manual use of mobile phones several years ago. Most drivers are aware of the fact that they could get a ticket and have a police officer declare them liable for a crash if they admit to texting at the wheel. Unfortunately, all this does is create an incentive to lie.
You may have clearly seen the other driver using a mobile phone in the moments leading up to the crash, but they may try to claim to the officer responding to the scene of the collision that they were not distracted at the time of the wreck. How do you prove your allegations and ensure that they were the one who will have to provide insurance or other financial support following the wreck?
Look for video footage
One of the simplest ways to prove your claim about the other driver’s conduct is to find video evidence. There are traffic cameras at some of the busiest intersections, and the footage from those cameras could help show someone’s behavior right before or even during a collision. You or someone else nearby me have a dashboard camera that captured the crash. There could also be security camera footage if there are houses or businesses nearby.
Review the phone records
Someone texting at the wheel could delete the text message that they just sent or even remove the social media app they used immediately prior to the collision. While they can delete the visible evidence on their phone, they cannot remove the data usage information recorded by their phone provider or by the company that manages the app. Police officers and attorneys can obtain phone and application records to validate someone’s digital behavior prior to a crash.
Make sure the police know your suspicions
If you hope to hold the other driver accountable for their distraction and the collision that resulted, you will need the police officer writing the report on the wreck to understand your concerns. If they don’t realize that you think the other driver had their phone in hand, they may reach an inaccurate conclusion during their investigation.
If you can prove that someone used their phone leading up to the crash, you will be in a better position to make a claim against their insurance or possibly take them to civil court. Understanding your rights after a South Dakota car crash will help you mitigate whatever consequences result from a wreck.