The ongoing popularity of Lyft, Uber, and other ridesharing services has significantly increased the number of distracted driving car wrecks in recent years. And, largely thanks to smartphone misuse, this figure was already alarmingly high.
Most people multitask all day long. So, they assume they can safely behave the same way when they get behind the wheel. But there is a big difference between participating in a Zoom conference and driving a huge vehicle on a freeway. Many people fail to appreciate that difference, and as a result, victims get hurt or killed.
Because of these serious injuries, and because the drivers are so careless, a Lexington personal injury attorney might be able to obtain substantial compensation for these victims. Additionally, an attorney does more for victims than stand up for them in court.
Following an accident, most victims’ immediate needs include vehicle replacement, medical attention, and protection from the insurance company. An attorney takes care of all these needs.
The earth continues turning after a serious crash. Although the family’s vehicle is wrecked, the kids still need to get to school, the adults still need to get to work, and so on.
Most insurance companies are fairly good about providing some assistance in this area. That might be the only nice thing about an insurance company we’ll ever say. However, their generosity is limited. Adjusters usually only approve the cheapest substitute rental vehicle or repair shop.
Attorneys can intervene early to help ensure that victims get the assistance they need, and not the help the insurance company is willing to pay for. For example, if the wrecked vehicle was a minivan, a Honda Accord is not an acceptable substitute, at least as far as we are concerned.
Medical help is another example. Many car crash injuries, such as whiplash, do not appear on X-rays and other common diagnostic test results. Yet if not treated early, properly, and aggressively, whiplash can cause permanent paralysis.
Once again, an attorney helps victims. Lawyers connect victims with car crash physicians. These professionals know how to diagnose and treat such injuries.
As a bonus, attorneys usually send letters of protection to these providers. These letters guarantee payment when the case is resolved. In other words, car crash victims pay nothing upfront for top-notch medical help.
As an additional bonus, an attorney is a good negotiator as well as a strong litigator. Therefore, a lawyer can usually convince providers to lower their fees. That could mean the victim gets to keep more of the settlement money.
When most people are sick or injured, they just want to be left alone, so they can recover. Unfortunately, adjustders seemingly call constantly at this time, trying to convince victims to settle. It’s usually very tempting to take the offer, but victims have no idea if the offer is fair.
Once insurance companies receive notice of representation, it’s illegal for them to directly contact victims. So, when you partner with us, your house immediately gets a lot quieter, because the phone does not ring nearly as frequently.
Negligence is essentially a lack of care. The duty of care requires drivers to watch the road, securely hold the steering wheel, and focus on driving. Hand-held cell phones impair all three of these areas. These gadgets combine all three forms of distracted driving, which are:
- Visual (eyes off the road),
- Manual (hand off the wheel), and
- Cognitive (mind off driving).
In these cases, victim/plaintiffs must establish negligence by a preponderance of the proof (more likely than not). Evidence of negligence includes device usage logs, erratic driving prior to the crash, and the tortfeasor’s statements about driving while distracted.
Hand-held phones are not the only cause of distracted driving crashes. Other causes include hands-free gadgets, which are visually and cognitively distracting, eating while driving, and drinking while driving.
Negligence Per Se
Most all jurisdictions have laws prohibiting cell phone use while driving. Currently, texting and driving is illegal in Kentucky. “Texting” usually means sending or reviewing any text-based communication, such as a text message, email, or Facebook post. In January 2020, lawmakers began considering a much broader hands-free law, but House Bill 255 is still mired in committee.
If a tortfeasor (negligent driver) violates this law and causes a crash, the tortfeasor could be liable for damages as a matter of law. Unfortunately, due to the limited nature of this law, the negligence per se doctrine does not apply in many Kentucky distracted driving crashes.
Distracted driving wrecks often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Fayette County and nearby jurisdictions.