accident attorneys need to focus on cell phones for evidenceEarlier this year, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) released their 2015 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. Topping the list was the need to do more about the growing problem of electronically distracted drivers. It's a problem that can certainly have deadly consequence.

"It's really coming to a point that data from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets should be collected from just about any accident scene," says Rick Crouch, Managing Director of Rick Crouch & Associates, a recognized leader in computer forensics and electronic discovery (eDiscovery) services. "We've certainly seen a spike in requests at our various locations from accident attorneys to collect data from mobile devices to help determine what role, if any, electronic devices had in the accidents they are investigating, especially over the last few months. While the fact that there are certainly more people than ever relying on mobile devices every day may account for the rise, I think it also has to do with the beefing up their texting-while-driving laws recently may have prompted more attorneys to leave no phone unturned. Like with insurance, it's far better to have the data and not need it, than to need it and not have it."

The Quick Analysis process:

  1. The suspect device is received, and logged.
  2. A proper chain-of-custody log is created.
  3. The suspect device is forensically duplicated (imaged) using court accepted procedures.
  4. The original evidence is properly stored in compliance with court approved procedures.
  5. Certified analysts search the entire mobile device for all recoverable data.
  6. All recoverable data is extracted and provided to the client in easy to understand format.
  7. The Certified analysts are assigned lead analyst forwards the results to the client.
  8. The results will help identify the presence of any evidence or indicators to help client determine evidentiary value and decide if a more thorough analysis is warranted.

"Compared to other computing devices like PCs and laptops, mobile devices typically have much less storage capacity, which exponentially increases the chances of valuable electronic evidence being overwritten and lost from further use," says Crouch, "so getting the device forensically imaged as soon as possible is critical. Once we've done the Quick Analysis, all of the data will be preserved in the exact same state it was on the day we received it, and can then be used in multiple ways at any time afterwards. If the attorneys need to build a timeline, they’ll have the collected data available to do it. If they need to broaden their search scope after learning more about the case, we’ll be able to help with that too, using the data from the original collection. And if things get more complex, our vast experience and expertise in all things relating to digital evidence will let our specialists seamlessly transition to a more thorough analysis of any and all data if necessary, and assist with any further eDiscovery needs the client may have, all the way through production and expert witness testimony."

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Rick Crouch & Associates offers digital forensic services in civil, criminal and private matters. Rick Crouch & Associates provides complete, non-invasive computer investigation, analysis, recovery, evidence handling and search techniques on computer or network storage media. When performing recoveries for litigation, strict guidelines and protocols are followed to maintain positive control of evidence and content. Additionally, Rick Crouch & Associates provides support for civil and criminal litigation and expert court witnesses for testimonies and depositions.

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