We have seen a considerable surge in the volume of cell phone linked pedestrian incidents according to a study carried out by Ohio State University (Distracted Walking, Injuries Soar For Pedestrians on Phones, Accident Analysis and Prevention, August 2013 Issue ). The study demonstrates the frequency of cellular telephone connected pedestrian vehicle accidents has more than doubled since 2005. Those individuals around the ages of 16-25 were identified to be the most at risk.
The cell phone related injuries that were documented have been the result of distracted actions including falling off of walkways and bridges to walking in front of moving traffic. This should certainly not be too unexpected as the amount of auto accidents connected with cell phone use is likewise increasing significantly. You can read more about this study at the following link:
Distracted Driving or Walking Causes Accidents
All types of technological gadgets similar to cell phones and tablets make our lives far easier and often more effective, however that usefulness includes a risk. A distracted pedestrian can cause the same or similar danger to public safety as a distracted vehicle driver or cyclist, and can be just as liable if they are the main cause of an accident that leads to injury or death.
Whether or not you are a pedestrian or a vehicle driver, complete attention to your actions is required to steer clear of accidental injuries. In my personal opinion, individuals whose focus is diverted because they are texting, chatting on a cell phone or reading a text, really have no excuse if their poor attention causes an accident. It is common sense that walking on a roadway or driving down a street calls for the individual’s focus.
If an person makes a conscious decision to divert their attention elsewhere, then they should be accountable for any accident that occurs due to their inattention. I’ve seen people texting or looking at a text message with little children in the back, or while rounding turns on the freeway and other high risk situations. This displays a lack of concern for other people who may be using the public roadways.
Sending a Text & Auto Accidents
A NJ court stated that a person who sends text messages to a motorist can potentially be liable if the sender knew the recipient would view the text while driving and there is an accident.
The ruling involved a lawsuit by a couple who were seriously injured when the motorcycle they were riding was hit by a teenager texting with his girl friend. The court dismissed the lawsuit against the girl friend because it said there was no evidence that the girl knew her boyfriend would read the text while driving. To read more about the case click here.
Still, this raises a unique legal issue because in almost all automobile accident cases which involve texting, there is someone on the other end either sending or receiving the text. This also raises a number of questions. Would or should the auto liability insurance for the person sending a text, cover their damages if sued for the injuries of another? How can you prove a person who sends a text knows the receiver will read it while driving?
If information about possible legal liability was promoted widely to the public, would it have any deterrent effect on texting while driving? I have passed this information along because I believe it raised some interesting issues and questions worth thinking about.
Texting while driving causes automobile accidents.
While this really should be obvious, a recent article coming from CBS New York reported that a person is substantially more prone to be in an automobile accident if they are texting while driving. The article said something like 20 times more likely to be in an accident. Whether or not the figure is completely accurate, there’s no question that text messaging while driving a vehicle is a dangerous practice. Obviously a driver’s attention can’t be completely focused on their driving while attempting to read or create a text.
I’m amazed at the number of individuals I see texting while driving. I have actually seen people texting while they had young children riding in the back seat of a vehicle. How intelligent is that and how little disregard for the kids this illustrates. While we absolutely won’t excuse driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, at least an impaired person can give the excuse that their judgment was impaired. What is the excuse for sober people texting while driving?
The CBS article went on to refer to data that 1.6 million auto accidents can be attributed to texting while driving. This amazing statistic is in addition to 11 teenager deaths each and every day. That is absolutely alarming.
The New York Institute of Technology used a driving simulation to instruct school students on the perils associated with texting while driving. The simulation program was effective in helping students realize that anything lower than 100% attention to driving is unsafe. You can see this interesting report in its entirety by clicking on the following web link.
Injury law seems fairly straightforward, so some may question whether they need an injury lawyer to assist them. The answer often turns on the type of case you have. If liability or negligence of the other driver is clear and the dollar value of the case is relatively low, then it may not be too complicated. Chances are you might be able to get it settled yourself without using an attorney. However, even cases which appear to have clear liability can sometimes get complicated. And injury cases where the dollar value seems low, may turn into much larger cases. Information provided by Montgomery Law Offices.
Describing a case as small or low value is not meant to diminish it in any way since all cases are important to the people injured. Unfortunately, the US legal system cannot restore health. All it can do is require the party found to be at fault pay the accident victim some money in return for the injuries.
Some criteria to determine if your case might be considered a “small case” or “low value” case include the following: (1) your vehicle was only slightly damaged, like a bumper scratch/dent, (2) the medical treatment was for a “soft tissue” injury and lasted only 2-3 months, (3) the medical bills were not more than a couple thousand dollars, and (4) the injuries were not permanent.
Typical cases that might qualify as “small cases” are typically rear-end collisions where there is only damage to the rear bumper that is less than $1,000.00; where the injured person only saw a chiropractor and was diagnosed as having a “soft tissue” injury and recovered fairly quickly with no long-term permanent effects. These are the type of cases that people often settle for themselves.
However, since most accident and injury attorneys will give you a free consultation, it may be worth your while to visit with a lawyer about your case. Since most lawyers handle injury claims on a contingency fee basis (they get paid a percentage of what the collect for you) they will be more likely to tell you if they believe you can handle the case on your own. From a lawyer’s standpoint, so called small cases take a lot of time but seldom generate enough money in legal fees to justify all of the time and effort spent on the case.
If you have a small case, and your bills are more than $3,000 to $5,000, you will first want to finish your treatment and get “released” from your doctor. Frequently doctors, such as chiropractors, will tell you that you have reached “maximum medical improvement,” or MMI. At this point, they will release you from treatment and tell you to come back if you have any problems. Once you are released, you will want to collect the bills and records from all medical providers who have treated you for your injury. If you were initially transported by ambulance and were treated in the ER of the hospital, you will want to collect these records as well.
After you have collected your records, you will want to write a letter to the insurance company with your “demand” or request for settlement. In your letter, you should ask to be reimbursed for your medical bills (and future medical bills if applicable) as well as the pain and suffering you went through and/or expect to go through in the future.
You can present your own offer or ask them to make you an offer. The insurance company will then contact you and give you their offer. In most cases, their offer will be less than what you were hoping for. You are free at that point to make a counter offer and to “negotiate” with them.
For example, the insurance company might say that they will settle your case for the cost of medical bills plus $500 to $1,000 for your pain and suffering. They might offer you less or maybe more. But this is probably in the range of what you might see if you negotiate with them directly for this kind of “small case.” If you are negotiating a larger case, you should expect more than this. Some law firms offer a free service where they will review the offer from the insurance company, compare it against your records, and let you know whether the insurance company is making a fair offer or not.
It is usually to your advantage to have an attorney in a larger dollar value case. This is true even when the attorney charges their typical 1/3 contingency fee. A study that was done in 1999 by the Insurance Research Counsel, found that people who used a lawyer for their personal injury claim received on average 3 1/2 times more compensation than those persons who settled their own cases.
If your case is a larger case, you should ask the attorney whether they will insure that you receive at least as much as offered by the insurance company. A common practice by some attorneys is to insure clients get at least as much as offered by the insurance company or they will cut their fee to make that happen. This means the client will end up with more money in their pocket than if they had done it alone. This is a good thing to ask the attorney you are thinking of using.
Injury law and drunk driving. If a person chooses to operate a vehicle while he or she is impaired by alcohol, that person is placing other people in excessive danger. According to reports by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, someone is killed by a drunk driver every 45 minutes on average in the United States.
Most states have enacted strong laws and regulations to safeguard the public against drunk drivers. In some states, the law protects victims of drunk drivers by permitting them to recover damages not only from the drunk driver but also the tavern, club, or commercial establishment that over served the inebriated individual. The law that enables the victim of a drunk driving accident to collect damages from the business that served the driver is commonly known as Dram Shop Acts.
If you have been injured or your property has been destroyed in a drunk driving accident, it is the legal responsibility of the drunk driver to compensate you for those damages. Compensation may include payment for past and future medical bills, loss of income, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. In addition, if the conduct of the drunk driver is seen as an extreme deviation from normal or reasonable conduct, which it often is, then you may be able to ask the court to award punitive damages to deter the person from driving while drunk in the future.
The public does not look upon drunk drivers favorably. This factor creates an added incentive for the insurance company and the drunk driver to settle the case. They know that a jury can come down on them very hard if the case has to go to trial. for this reason, an injured person is usually in a stronger position to negotiate a good settlement.