Distracted Driving Accidents in Indiana

As an Evansville law firm, we’ve handled many car accident claims in Indiana. We see many different types of car accidents, but distracted driving crashes are among the most common. We can assist you in recovering compensation for your injuries caused by a distracted driver by proving that they were at fault for the accident.

What Is Distracted Driving?

“Distracted driving” refers to non-driving activities that ultimately lessen the attention dedicated to driving. Some examples of distracted driving include the following:

  • Using a cellular device
  • Talking to other passengers
  • Eating or drinking
  • Watching videos
  • Playing with the radio
  • Grooming oneself

There is a growing number of distractions for Indiana drivers on the road. Between distractions outside the vehicle and high-tech gadgets built into cars, it’s getting more challenging to focus on driving. It’s important to be aware of the different types of distractions and try removing as many as possible while driving. 

Types of Distracted Driving

Typically, a distraction will fall into one of three categories:

  • Visual distraction – This category includes anything that leads the eyes to leave the road. This includes watching videos, checking navigation systems, or looking at something outside the vehicle.
  • Manual distraction – These distractions require someone to take their hands away from the steering wheel. This type of distracted driving includes eating, playing with the radio, or looking for something in the car.
  • Cognitive distraction – The final form of distraction involves being distracted and not focusing on the road. Even if a driver has their eyes forward and both hands on the wheel, they may be in danger when talking on the phone, chatting with a passenger, or listening to loud music.

It is important to note that when determining compensation, the cause of the distraction is rarely considered. It is far more important to consider the victim’s injuries and how the accident has affected the victim’s life.

Why Is Distracted Driving Dangerous?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 3,100 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2019. In addition, distracted driving injured approximately 424,000 people––15% of all traffic crash injuries. 

Certain types of distractions require the attention of multiple aspects at once. For example, texting and driving accidents may involve cognitive, manual, and visual distractions. You must be looking down at the text, typing what you want to say, and thinking about the conversation. The NHTSA discovered that those who text and drive are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident than those who don’t. 

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute recorded more than 10,000 distracted driving collisions in Indiana in 2019. It should be noted that Indiana crash report forms don’t include a field for texting and driving, meaning the number of crashes due to distracted driving is likely much higher. 

When drivers are not distracted, they can often correct mistakes quickly or adapt to their surroundings. Drivers who are distracted have no way to prepare for dangerous situations or respond to other bad drivers. Even if distracted driving is not the sole cause of an accident, there is a high chance that it was a contributing factor. For example, suppose a driver slides off the road in bad weather conditions because they took a turn too fast. In that case, they may have been speeding because they changed the radio station and didn’t notice the road signs.

Distracted Driving Injuries

Different types of car accidents are more likely to cause a variety of types of injuries. For example, rear-end collisions often result in whiplash for the driver of the hit vehicle. Drunk driving accidents and crashes that involve speeding are often very serious as they involve greater force and less damage mitigation. Distracted driving is unique because it causes a wide range of accidents. 

Drivers who text during standstill traffic might accidentally hit the driver’s bumper in front of them. Drivers eating food while in a two-lane road may drift into oncoming traffic and cause a head-on collision. Here are some of the more common injuries we see in distracted driving cases:

  • Broken bones – From minor fractures to complete breaks, drivers often absorb a lot of the energy with their limbs, resulting in painful injuries.
  • Head injuries and TBIs – The force from an accident can be so strong that your head will collide with the steering wheel or another part of the car. Along with some severe damage to your skull, these types of head injuries can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or concussions, which damage your brain. 
  • Cuts and scrapes – Car accidents often involve shattered glass and jagged debris. Drivers can get deep cuts or big scrapes from higher-speed crashes. 
  • Back and neck injuries – Along with pain from whiplash caused by the head jerking, you may injure your spine after a car crash. These could be signs of physical trauma that warrant compensation from the liable party.

In a distracted driving case, the individual who was not paying attention is usually held responsible. You will most likely be able to recover full compensation for your injuries if you were purely a victim and did not contribute to the accident. The severity and location of your injury will play a significant factor in determining benefits. 

Distracted Driving in Injury Cases

Other Indiana laws apply indirectly to distracted driving accidents. For example, if the victim of a distracted driving car accident wants to pursue compensation from the liable party, comparative fault will play a major role in determining benefits. 

Two important factors should be considered in Indiana after a car accident:

  • Indiana is an at-fault state
  • Indiana awards compensation based on the percentage of fault up to 50%

This means somebody will always be responsible for an accident. That person will be responsible for compensating the other driver who was not at fault or less at fault. 

Indiana negligence laws state that drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing injuries on the road. Suppose a driver engaged in a distracting activity while operating their motor vehicle and it resulted in a collision, that is considered negligence. It will be up to the injured party to prove that the driver was negligent.

However, fault will automatically be assigned if the defendant receives a citation for violating Code 9-21-8-59. The burden of proving fault in the accident will no longer fall on the victim’s shoulders. 

The benefits an injured victim sustains after an accident will be lessened if they share any responsibility for the accident. If one driver was distracted, but the injured party disobeyed traffic laws, recovering benefits may be more difficult. The claimant should hire an experienced Evansville car accident lawyer for legal counsel. 

Distracted Driving Damages

A car accident case in Indiana can yield many compensatory damages––both special and general. This includes coverage for expenses with a price tag (medical bills, car repairs, etc.) and additional funds for subjective consequences (emotional pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.). The victim of a distracted driving accident will rarely be awarded punitive damages. . 

Receiving benefits for specific costs is simple, but working with the insurance company to determine the value of other damages can be difficult. Hire a lawyer to negotiate with other parties and prevent them from using any intimidation tactics. 

Contact Tuley for Assistance in Your Distracted Driving Case

Distracted driving accidents can happen in seconds and change all the involved parties’ lives forever. Before you allow yourself to be distracted on the road in Indiana, remember how serious the consequences may be if you get into an accident. If you have already sustained an injury due to a distracted driver, reach out to the team at Tuley Law Office.

Our law firm specializes in retrieving compensation for injury victims. Car accidents comprise a considerable portion of the cases we handle because of the constant traffic across Indiana. If you need help proving fault in a car accident, you should contact us as soon as possible. We will fight to ensure that you receive what you deserve.