Can I Sue a Driver for Hitting Me Because They Were Using Their Cell Phone?

If you refer to the recent Indiana motor vehicle accident records maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you will learn that, in 2018 alone, nearly half a million car accident victims suffered serious injuries as a result of distracted driving. In that same year, nearly 3,000 actually lost their lives due to distracted driving. Fortunately, Indiana’s government continues to make strides in improving and preserving the standard of protection for drivers and pedestrians alike.

One example is a new law that was passed just last month making it illegal to use or hold a cell phone while driving. If you were recently injured in a car accident because the other driver was using their cell phone, or otherwise distracted, that driver can be deemed negligent in the eyes of the law. In turn, this could make you eligible for a legal settlement or court verdict.

Continue reading to learn more about distracted driving accidents and injuries, including what you need to do as a recent victim to get your claim started, and what Indiana’s law says about using your phone while driving.

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It is Against the Law to Use Your Phone and Drive

Here in Indiana, July 1st, 2020 served as the day in which using or even holding your cell phone while driving, was decreed illegal. That means it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle, while at the same time, using or holding a mobile phone. However, it is perfectly legal to use voice command or hands-free phone technology, or to use a phone to call 911 for a valid emergency. You can read the full contents of this law is under Indiana Code § 9-21-8-59, which includes this relevant excerpt:

“(a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), a person may not hold or use a telecommunications device while operating a moving motor vehicle. (b) A telecommunications device may be used in conjunction with hands free or voice operated technology. (c) A telecommunications device may be used or held to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency.”

With this new law in effect, drivers who reach down to pick up a dropped phone, or choose to send emails or text messages while the car is moving, can be easily found negligent in their actions. Therefore, anyone who suffers injuries in a car accident that resulted from a driver using or holding their phone is likely entitled to certain compensation for their damages and losses because that driver blatantly broke the law.

Other Forms of Distracted Driving

Drivers can become distracted in a multitude of ways; not just by using a phone. If you were seriously injured by a distracted driver, it could be for many reasons. Common examples of distracted driving include reading maps or GPS, eating, handling children in the backseat, rifling through purses or briefcases, and changing music on the stereo.

How to Get started on a Car Accident Claim

Contact a licensed personal injury lawyer who specializes in car accident injury claims if you were recently injured in a car accident that was not your fault. You see, insurance companies in clear cut cases of liability, such as using a phone while driving, sometimes try to settle as soon as possible. But accepting a quick settlement can be a massive mistake as a car accident victim.

This is because once a person signs and accepts the offer and releases the defendant from further liability, the case is immediately closed and cannot be brought back up ever again. If more injuries are discovered after settlement, which can occur and is called “delayed onset” or other damages appear or get worse after the settlement has closed, the defendant and their insurance company will no longer bear any responsibility. This is why it is important to hire a licensed Indiana car accident attorney to represent you.

Indianapolis Indiana Car Accident Lawyers Who Can Help

Call 317-881-2700 and speak with a seasoned personal injury attorney about your car accident injury in Indianapolis, Indiana. Attorneys Daniel Craven, Ralph Hoover, and Keith Blazek each have decades of car accident litigation and trial experience, and will work diligently to ensure you obtain the full and fair compensation for your damages. We offer free initial consultations to assess your case, and never collect attorney fees unless we recover a settlement for you. Call 317-881-2700 to schedule your initial consultation, today.

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Are Police Reports Important to an Auto Accident Claim?

Usually, no one walks away from a car accident and says it was no big deal. They are serious matters that have the potential to cause severe injuries and even death. For these reasons and more, auto accidents are scary, and tend to leave injured victims feeling confused.

If you are in a car collision, whether as a driver, passenger, cyclist, or pedestrian, one of the first steps you can take is also one of the most vital. After getting medical attention for yourself and others involved, be sure to contact law enforcement and make a report at the scene of the accident. In fact, it is required by law in most cases.

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Here in Indiana, the law requires individuals to immediately alert the local police department of a car accident in certain cases, including if:

  • It results in any form of bodily harm or death.
  • It causes over $1,000 in property damage.
  • City ordinance requires car accident reporting.
  • The insurance company requires car accident reporting.

Personal Injury Claims and Police Reports

Separate from your legal obligation to report a car accident to the nearest police station, it is in your best interest to do so for your own personal injury claim. You should always contact the police and have them come out and do a report as a general rule.  There are some cases in which victims do not immediately feel or appear injured initially after an auto accident, but later on, sometimes hours, days, weeks and even months, develop serious symptoms and the injuries sustained during the collision begin manifesting themselves. This is known as an onset of symptoms, and is a common occurrence in car accidents. The amount of time an onset of injuries takes to appear varies from person to person.

Police are specially trained to investigate and evaluate the details of a car accident, and therefore, should accurately record a report that defines relevant details regarding the collision. A completed police report can protect your rights to recovering compensation in an insurance settlement or personal injury lawsuit for your losses by documenting evidence of the facts surrounding your case. Such reports usually provide a large amount of valuable information, such as:

  • Time, Date, and Location
  • Contact Information for All Parties Involved
  • Insurance Information for All Parties Involved
  • Statements from All Parties Involved
  • Witness Statements and Contact Information
  • Description of Injuries Reported at the Scene
  • The Officer’s Personal Account and Opinion of the Accident
  • A Diagram of the Accident Scene
  • Description of Road and Weather Conditions
  • Description of Vehicle and Property Damages
  • Pictures of Injuries, Damages, and Scene Surroundings
  • Description of Tickets Issued at the Scene By the Officer
  • And More

Because investigating police officers usually do not know the drivers involved, they are usually seen as unbiased witnesses to a car accident, and therefore, have no stake in the outcome of a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim, their reports of an accident are highly valuable and persuasive forms of evidence in a case. Police can be, and are often, used as witnesses in car accident injury cases. Contact a licensed Central Indiana car accident lawyer for help navigating your claim on a course toward a full and fair financial recovery.

Who to Trust With Your Indiana Car Accident Claim

Contact the esteemed law office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 for help making a car accident injury claim in Indianapolis, Indiana. Seasoned personal injury attorneys, Daniel Craven, Ralph Hoover, and Keith Blazek, specialize in car accident claims, and are well-versed in Indiana personal injury law. We offer free initial consultations, we represent clients all over the State of Indiana and never charge lawyer fees unless we win your case. Schedule an appointment, and get started as soon as today.

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What To Do and Not To Do After a Car Accident

After being involved in a car accident that was not your fault, actions you take and decisions you make, can influence the total amount you receive in a personal injury settlement. For this reason, it is vital to know what to do and not to do after being involved in an auto accident caused by another driver. Continue reading for this information and more, as it can possibly make or break your car accident claim.

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Insurance Companies are Not on Your Side

When you make a personal injury car accident claim, it is the at-fault party’s insurance company that will pay you your ultimate settlement or judgment if owed. However, insurance companies do not want to pay car accident victims. Their primary objective is to settle as quickly as possible for as little as possible, which is usually not a good thing for an accident victim.

Insurance companies will offer a paltry settlement and simply try to send a victim on their way. You see, within these insurance companies are hundreds of employees who work hard to argue that the value of your injury  claim is low. They will use every resource in their power to reduce the settlement amount, which in turn increases their employer’s profits.

Fortunately, there are seasoned car accident attorneys out there who know the laws surrounding such claims inside and out, and can navigate through insurance adjuster tactics. They will provide cold-hard evidence to support a victim’s damages and losses and recover a full settlement.

What to Do After a Car Accident:

➀ Dial 911 and request police and paramedics for any injured persons.
➁ Tell the investigating officer how the accident happened.
➂ Seek medical attention at the scene and then at the hospital.
➃ Take several pictures and videos of the car and your surroundings.
➄ Contact a car accident injury lawyer to learn what your rights are.

What NOT to Do:

❌ Do not wait to get medical attention.

❌ Do not skip doctors’ appointments or treatments.

❌ Do not talk to insurance adjusters.

❌ Do not send out a demand letter.

❌ Do not sign a waiver or release-of-liability document or any other documents without talking with your attorney first.

❌ Do not accept cash for your damages and losses.

❌ Do not attempt to negotiate your claim yourself.

Talk to an Indianapolis Car Accident Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Call the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 for help with a car accident injury claim in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our seasoned car accident lawyers can help you recover the full and fair compensation you deserve after suffering a serious injury in a car accident. We offer free initial consultations and never collect lawyer fees unless we prevail for you. Schedule your consultation before the statutes of limitations runs out on your claim. We represent injured persons throughout the State of Indiana.

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