Distracted Driving Accidents
Attorney Steve Willsey is committed to protecting the rights of car accident victims in Indianapolis and throughout the state of Indiana. Many of these collisions occur because one or more drivers was not paying proper attention to the road and other vehicles. When this happens, an injured person may have legal options to explore.
The federal government estimates that, nationally, some 3,000 people are killed each year in car accidents in which a driver was distracted. More than 400,000 others are injured annually in distracted driving crashes. Since these numbers have been on the rise in recent years, many states – including Indiana – have made it a crime to send a text message or an email while driving. However, the law is silent on other, equally distracting cellphone use, such as surfing the internet, playing video games, or checking social media sites while operating a motor vehicle.Holding Distracted Drivers Accountable Under Indiana Law
When a distracted driver causes a car crash that injures or kills someone else, the victim or the bereaved family has a right to bring a negligence claim to pursue compensation. Costs and losses that may be available typically include medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering. The basic premise behind a negligence case is that a person who does not behave in the way that a reasonable, prudent person would act under the circumstances should pay for the harm that is caused by his or her carelessness.
Negligence cases have four elements: proving that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, showing how that duty was breached, demonstrating that there was a causal connection between the accident and the defendant’s breach, and providing proof of the plaintiff’s damages. In distracted driving cases, an injured person may show that the defendant breached the duty to keep a proper lookout, stay in his or her own lane of travel, or obey other rules of the road because he or she was engaging in an activity that took too much of his or her attention. This can include not only texting and other cell phone use, but also:
- Eating or drinking;
- Grooming, such as applying makeup or fixing hair;
- Using a navigation system;
- Looking at maps, mail, or other papers;
- Playing with the radio; or
- Watching a DVD or other video entertainment device.
A person who has been hurt or a family who has lost a loved one in a car crash caused by a distracted driver has two years in which to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. This time period is called the “statute of limitations,” and failure to file within this period usually bars a claim from being heard. It is wise to seek legal counsel as soon as possible following an accident so that a thorough investigation can be made before the scene changes, witnesses disappear or suffer fading memories, or evidence spoliation occurs.
It is not unusual for an insurance company to contact an accident victim soon after a collision, insinuating that the injured individual will get a fair settlement by cooperating with the insurance company and not hiring an attorney to represent his or her interests. People who have been involved in a crash should be cautious about making an agreement with an insurer without consulting a lawyer first.Seek Advice from an Experienced Indianapolis Attorney after a Motor Vehicle Collision
Pursuing a negligence case against a distracted driver is not always easy. An experienced attorney can use skill, perseverance, and determination to assist injured people in securing a reasonable settlement or, if necessary, taking the case to trial and letting a jury decide what is fair. Attorney Steve Willsey is familiar with courtroom procedures and strategies. He has obtained verdicts of up to $5 million during his 25 years of representing people harmed by others’ negligence and reckless conduct.
To discuss a car or truck crash with a knowledgeable Indianapolis lawyer, call us toll-free at 888-783-2500 or use the contact form on this website. We strive to be available to our clients 24/7 so that their questions and concerns are answered promptly. We serve injured individuals throughout Indiana, including in Marion, Shelby, and Boone Counties.