If you are involved in a car accident, the other driver may claim that you were at fault. In our legal system, you are expected to operate your vehicle with reasonable care. If you do not, you may be considered to be negligent. Anyone claiming that you are at fault is obligated to prove that you were negligent to the satisfaction of a judge and a jury, in order for you to be held responsible at trial for the accident.
In New Jersey, operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone may be a violation of law and result in you receiving a summons. If you are using a cell phone at the same time that you are involved in a car accident in New Jersey, it may be claimed that your cell phone use caused the accident and was negligent.
In a lawsuit, the other driver would be able to obtain your cell phone records to prove that you were, in fact, using your cell phone near the time of the accident. The other driver may then argue that using the cell phone interfered with your ability to operate your vehicle with reasonable care. For example, when you are using your cell phone while driving, you may take your eyes off the road to text or dial a number, be distracted by an important conversation or drive with only one hand.
It is important to use your common sense and be careful behind the wheel. If you have hands free capability, that may make the cell phone use in a car safer. If not, your best bet is to pull over if you need to take a call that cannot wait. In this way, you can avoid legal liability for car accidents as well as traffic tickets.