Circumstantial Evidence That Driver Was On Cell Phone At Time of Collision Was Sufficient to Prove Negligence

The Indiana Appellate court recently held that circumstantial evidence suggesting that a driver was on his cell phone at the time of the motor vehicle collision was enough to establish an inference of negligence.  In the case, the injured plaintiff was stopped at a red light when she was rear ended by the defendant.  When the defendant got out of his vehicle he had a cell phone in his hand and claimed that it was not working.  However, later on while the defendant was still at the accident scene he was observed using the cell phone.  The jury found in the injured plaintiff’s favor.  Defendant appealed arguing that there was insufficient evidence to establish negligence.  The appellate court disagreed.  The court found the following.  One, there was no bad weather, road defects or other excuse for the collision.  Two, defendant’s claim that his cell phone was not working when it actually was working provides a reasonable inference that the defendant tried to conceal the fact that he was using the phone at the time of the accident.  Three, defendant offered no explanation as to why he stated that his cell phone was not working.