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.
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.