A TALE OF TWO VEHICLES AND THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY DISTRACTED DRIVING
As a personal injury attorney dealing in auto accident cases for more than forty years, I can share with you the fact that, while in highway accidents, catastrophic and permanent loss may result from equipment error, all too often the real cause is distracted driving. According to EndDD, driver distractions fall into three main categories:
- Manual (driver moves hands from the wheel)
- Visual (driver moves eyes away from the road)
- Cognitive (driver’s mind wanders away from the task of driving)
V.K. was driving his semi truck westbound on a U.S. highway in Indiana when he was struck by another semi-truck owned by the R. Company. The owner/employee of that company had lost control of his vehicle, first leaving the roadway onto the ditch, then over-correcting, sideswiping V.K.’s truck and causing severe injury to both V.K. and his vehicle.
In the course of the investigation, the driver who had caused the accident, C.R., revealed that he had thought he smelled something burning in his cab. Distracted by that smell, he admitted to having taken his eyes off the road, losing control of the truck.
Unfortunately, C.R.’s failure to maintain proper and safe lane management, keeping a safe lookout on the road, resulted in injuries to the V.K, including personal injury, property damage, loss of income, and acute pain and suffering.
Although the plaintiff had asked for a jury trial, the case was ultimately settled out of court…
Let’s talk about this… any case or claim that involves an injury to the body or mind falls under the umbrella of personal injury law, with the underlying principle being that you generally have the legal right to recover compensation when you are injured as a result of someone else’s careless action.
Recovery of compensation generally happens either through a formal court-based lawsuit or settling the claim outside of court. One of the most important decisions any accident victim will make is whether to accept an insurance settlement offer or to consult a personal injury lawyer.
Remember these three things:
- No insurance company will ever pay out more than the policy limits (and, needless to say, their business interest lies in paying out less). Not only are we at Ramey & Hailey experienced in negotiating with insurers, your claim will be taken more seriously if you’re represented by an attorney.
- Injuries that might at first appear to be minor may turn into major ones. If you’ve already accepted a settlement offer, you have given up all rights to future claims.
- If you’ve undergone personal injury as a result of another driver’s negligence, the amount of financial help you stand to receive will depend not only on the actual damage to your car and the cost of your own medical treatment bills, but might also include compensation for “pain and suffering”. Insurance companies don’t pay for pain and suffering. This is no small consideration, because like the effects of physical injuries, the effects of emotional injuries can be prolonged and even lifelong.
Approximately 1,000,000 traffic citations are issued in Indiana every year, the Indiana Judicial Branch website says. Ironically, neither the plaintiff nor the defendant in this “Tale of Two Trucks” was from our state. The victim was a citizen of Pensacola, Florida; the distracted driver resided in Illinois. The trucking company had its principal place of business in Wisconsin.