There has long been a fear that people repeatedly are distracted by their cell phones while driving. Whether they are talking, texting, emailing or even surfing the web, many people cause accidents by doing these things while driving.
Although we may assume that this has happened when an accident occurs, the harder aspect of this is actually proving that someone was using their cell phone at the time of an accident. However one of our local courts in northeastern Pennsylvania just made that process a little easier. Judge David Williamson of Monroe County recently authored an opinion in the matter of Reilly v. Lanzerotti, wherein he decided that cell phone records of a Defendant driver involved in a head-on car accident were discoverable.
In the Reilly matter, the allegation was not only that the Defendant was on his cell phone at the time he crossed the double yellow line and hit the Plaintiff head-on, but also that he was drunk at the time. The Plaintiff’s lawyer sought to have the Defendant sign an authorization to allow his cell phone records from the day of the accident to be produced. The Judge granted this request. The Judge determined that these records would produce phone numbers of people he called and also could create a timeline of where the Defendant was leading up to the accident to show how long he had been drinking and where he had been to do so.
Once again, our electronic devises can be used for good and bad. Had the Defendant not been using a cell phone at the time, the accident may never have occurred. At the same time, the cell phone can now be used essentially as a tracking device. This will allow the Plaintiff to even go out and interview people who were with the Defendant at the time of this accident, thus creating even more embarrassment for the Defendant. The Judge considered this potential embarrassment and still said the probative value of the evidence outweighed the embarrassment.
We at Abrahamsen, Conaboy, and Abrahamsen help people every day who have been injured in car accidents, slip and falls and other instances where they have been hurt through no fault of their own. We will work to bring these types of Defendants to justice and get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation