Arm Fractures Requiring Multiple Surgeries - $155,000 Settlement
This case involved a husband and wife who were involved in an auto accident in which the other party did not stop for a stop sign. Injuries included scarring along with radius and ulnar fractures that required internal fixation. After extensive negotiations, a successful settlement in the amount of $155,000 was secured on behalf of the couple.
Distracted Driving as a Cause of Accidents
In our settlement detailed above, the other driver went through a stop sign to cause this accident. Why did the other driver do this? Everyone knows what a stop sign looks like and what it means, so what could be the possible explanation? Sometimes, a medical problem could be the reason, if the driver suffered a stroke, a seizure, or a heart attack. Other times, the driver may be of advanced age, with reduced vision or driving skills and fail to see the sign at all. But most commonly, the reason is none of these; it is a result of distracted driving.
Driving requires a person’s complete attention. It is not enough to be a good driver because there are many other drivers who are not. One needs to be constantly on guard for unforeseen events that may happen and lead to a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSA), in one recent year, over 3400 lives were lost as a result. Some of the most common sources of distracted driving are:
- Eating: Drivers in Chicago, across Illinois and the throughout the country are on the go. They always seem to be in a hurry and fast food drive-through restaurants are a manifestation of this phenomenon. Many people would rather eat while they drive, than sit down in such a restaurant and spend 15 minutes eating their meal. With only one hand on the wheel (or sometimes none), the next accident is always just around the corner.
- Talking: Talking to other passengers or yelling at children in the backseat to behave themselves is nothing new. As long as there have been cars, there have been people doing this. But when the talking becomes too involved, when the driver feels like they need to maintain eye contact with the other person, or when the driver uses their hands when speaking (and removes them from the wheel), this is an obvious hazard.
- Grooming: Cars are for driving. They are not applying make-up, shaving, combing hair or the like. These are things that need to be done before leaving the home or upon arrival at the destination. Yet, we all have seen people who groom themselves while driving a car; incredibly unwise.
- Electronics: At one time, the extent of a driver’s electronic interactions was adjusting the radio. But every year brings new, sophisticated and more involved electronic devices that interfere with a driver’s ability to drive safely. Navigation systems, whether integrated into the car, as a stand-alone unit, or via a smart phone, are very distracting and require significant driver input to operate. Smart phones themselves are by far the greatest problem, with people texting, using Instagram, checking emails, using Facetime or even live streaming while driving. To matters worse, people often mount their devices onto the windshield so that they are not only distracted, but also have impaired vision. Some newer vehicles even integrate texting into the car’s electronic interface as an additional distraction.
When a serious car crash occurs, a police officer may confiscate the driver’s phone and obtain a search warrant if necessary to search for the person’s “digital trail”. If it is determined that the driver was accessing phone information just prior to the car accident, this could be used as evidence in a civil trial against him/her and also serve as evidence in a criminal prosecution.
Driver’s owe it to themselves, their passengers, and other drivers on the road to focus on the task at hand - driving. When other happenings adversely influence their ability to drive properly and someone is injured or killed as a result, evidence of distracted driving can be used to help prove liability in any such lawsuit. Contact Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC at 800-996-4824 for additional free information.