Texting IS Impaired Driving

texting and drivingWe all know that drunk driving is dangerous because the driver’s perception, reaction time and decision making are slowed, if not functional.  The alcohol effects the drunk drivers body by interfering with the brains ability to communicate effectively with the other parts of the body.  It is almost as if the danger information is not communicated to the body so that the body cannot react and avoid problems.  The biggest problem is that the drunk driver is operating a 2000 pound missile at speed.

Texting and driving presents all the same dangers.  Instead of alcohol interfering with the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body, the phone interferes with the brains function.  If the texter is looking at the screen, the brain is not perceiving changes in its environment.  If the texter’s brain is thinking about the next thing to say, or reacting what it has perceived in a text , it is not thinking about the road, or the welfare of other drivers or the welfare of the texter.  If the texter’s brain is communicating with the phone, it is not telling the foot to brake because the light just turned to red.

I ride my bike most days, and every time I ride my bike, and I mean every time I ride my bike, I see texter’s doing things that would lead to the arrest of the drunk driver. We all know that drunk driving can result in serious personal injury, including wrongful death, amputation, paralysis and brain injury, just to mention a few. Texting driving causes the same potential for the same serious personal injuries.

So do yourself, your parents, your friends, your loved ones and all the people driving around you a huge favor,

PUT DOWN THE PHONE!           

Wait til you get there or pull over.  Just don’t text and drive.

Property Damage v. Bodily Injury Damage

I just got off the phone with a potential client who had a very common question.  He was involved in an automobile accident yesterday.  His car was rendered a total loss and his body was injured.  His question was, how can I settle my claim on the car while I am still in medical treatment and I do not know the full extent of my injuries?  The answer is simple but it takes a little to explain.  First, you need to know that your property damage claim and your bodily injury claim are two separate and distinct claims.  Of course they both arise out of the car crash, but they can be resolved independent of each other.  First you need to know that for both claims the statute of limitations for both claims is two years from the date of the car accident.  This is true whether the damage was caused by a drunk driving accident, a semi tractor-trailer accident or any highway accident.  This means that you must have a complaint filed in a court within the two year period, or your right to compensation for your claims will be forever lost.

So, you have plenty of time.  I suggest that initially, you stop, take a deep breath and try to not panic.  Second, contact the insurance company for the person who was at fault for the collision.  Inform them that you want to resolve your property damage claim.  I do not suggest that you give the insurance company a statement about what happened.  This is never in your best interest.  If that insurance company says they will not negotiate with you until you give a statement, you have a few options.  You can give the statement, which I do not recommend.  You can settle the claim with your own insurance company under the collision provision of your policy.  This will necessarily involve paying your deductible, but you will get that back when your insurance company settles their claim against the responsible parties insurance company.  Finally you can hire a lawyer.

Most people are unsatisfied with the offer they receive on their totaled car.  Usually it is not what they feel their car is worth and usually it is not enough to buy another reliable car.  The measure of property damage, in Indiana, is the value of the car immediately before the collision v. the value of the car immediately after the accident.  The value after the accident is scrap value and can range from $300 to $1,000.00.  Of course it can be more, but that is the exception.  The insurance company will want to pay you wholesale bluebook value for a car in average condition.  If your car is above average (be honest in your evaluation most cars really are of average condition) then you must be able to document why it is above average in condition.  I think you must remain firm that this has to be a retail value, not whole sale value.  You cannot buy a car wholesale, and therefore your loss is a retail loss. 

When you do reach a fair value and want to settle the claim, the insurance company will present you with a release of your property damage claim.  You can sign this without jeopardizing your bodily injury claim.  You must read the release and make sure it is for the property damage only.  Things to look for are words such as “release of any and all claims”  etc.  If the release has this language, and you are not settling your bodily injury claim, do not sign it, contact your lawyer immediately for advice.

Hazardous Conditions and Semi Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Indiana Persoanl Injury AttorneyIn Indiana, as I m sure is true in many parts of the Country there is an old saying.  If you don’t like the weather, give it a minute, it will change.  This is especially true in the winter were it can be in the 50s one day and the next we can have a foot of snow on the ground.  The snow melts and can turn to ice and everything is a mess.  It is for this very reason that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety  Regulations include  a provision for the operation of large trucks in hazardous conditions.  We have included the language of the rule below so that you may familiarize yourself with the obligations of the truckers around you while on the road. We all know that semi tractor-trailer crashes can causes serious personal injury and even wrongful death.  Inclement weather not only increases the possibility of a large truck crash, but increases the possible harm done.  Not only will the black ice on the road cause the trucker to lose control, but will cause the truck to take much longer to stop, increasing the energy dissipated in the trucking crash.  This energy is transferred to you and your family during the collision.  The more energy transferred to you and your car, the greater the injury and damage to you and your family.  

If you and your family or friends are involved in a semi tractor-trailer collision or a highway accident, and have suffered serious personal injury or wrongful death, we know the rules of the road, we know the science and physics, and we know how to work effectively in the Courtroom.  We can help.

Subpart B – Driving of commercial motor vehicles

§ 392.14 Hazardous conditions; extreme caution. Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated. Whenever compliance with the foregoing provisions of this rule increases hazard to passengers, the commercial motor vehicle may be operated to the nearest point at which the safety of passengers is assured.

NOTICE: No face-to-face meeting needed. You can remain safely in your home from case signup to settlement.

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