If the insurance company asks for copies of my phone bill, do I have to give it to them?

If the insurance company asks for copies of my phone bill, do I have to give it to them?

In the era of distracted driving in America, one area where many insurance companies and their attorneys are focusing is the phone bill.  Even if their Defendant driver is obviously at fault, they will likely want to look through all potential causes and facts, including your phone bill.
As a car accident lawyer respects might attest, the reason that your phone bill is of interest isn’t because they want to know the number of minutes you used last month.  They are looking to determine whether you could have been operating your phone at the time of the accident.
What phone and data experts will tell you is that our technology as of today makes it very difficult to pin down whether you (or the Defendant) was operating a phone at the time of the accident.  Obviously, if your bill reflects a call in progress during the accident, that can be determined.  However, it’s just as distracting to be dialing a number at the time of an accident.  That can’t be determined with today’s technology.
Also, surfing on the Internet while driving is very difficult to pinpoint.  Data transfers on most phone bills today merely show how much data was used within a three hour period, making it difficult to determine if someone was surfing the Internet or playing on an app at the time of an accident.
Text messages are also a frequent activity of distracted drivers.  It is easy to identify the time a text message was sent or received. However, it is difficult to distinguish this with iMessage. While a subtle and complicated difference, an iMessage does not use the cellular data or text messaging plan, and therefore, these messages aren’t reflected on the data bill.
In litigation, lawyers have begun focusing their requests on getting the phone bills from each driver involved in an accident in order to comb through the data and look for any potential causes of the accident.  While some portions of the phone bill aren’t relevant, some are.  Some data can be recovered via subpoena, and with current technological roadblocks, some can’t.
For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer who has been involved in discovery disputes over phone records.

 

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