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April 17, 2018

Distracted Drivers and Auto Accidents

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Posted in Wisconsin Workers Compensation Related News

One must wonder if American pioneers craning eager necks from Conestoga wagons for a view of a new and unknown territory caused as many difficulties in the flow of traffic as some of our fellow drivers manage to cause today. I’m sure many of our elders long for the days when a distracted driver consisted of a lady putting on her lipstick in the rear-view mirror or the gentleman with his newspaper spread across the steering wheel.  But the technology, conveniences, and luxuries we enjoy today bring a bevy of distractions to drivers at the wheel. The lady putting on her lipstick is also returning a phone call, sipping a specialty coffee, and searching for her vape pen. The gentleman with the newspaper is now the gentleman balancing his iPad on the steering wheel, checking his smartphone with one hand, and feeling around for a fancy thermos designed not to fit into any known cup holder with his other. Not to mention that everyone and their second cousin seems to be driving for Uber or Lyft and on the hunt for five-star passengers.  Other distractions are so well established that many motor vehicle accident reports already have a designated code for them: child(ren), pet(s), food, beverage, smoking, etc.

In a society riddled with distractions, the cause of a collision is frequently unknown to the injured party. Unless a driver, in those few moments before the collision occurs, actually sees some poor woman beating a teenage child with her house shoe, the injured party likely will have very little idea as to what has just happened or how indeed they even became an injured party. And human nature being what it is, other drivers will sometimes flatly deny wrongdoing.  Unfortunately, another very human reaction is to be less than forthcoming with the investigating officers. When a bad driver’s story doesn’t add up, an attorney will use various mechanisms of the law to shed light on the events which resulted in injury to his client.

Investigative measures conducted by an attorney will likely include review of the police report, review of damage to the vehicles, and a visit to the scene of the accident.  Once a lawsuit is underway, your attorney will prepare questions to be answered by the at-fault driver. Those questions are likely to include what the driver was doing both at the time of impact, and what the driver was doing just prior to the collision.  Additional information sought by your attorney may include records from the driver’s cell phone or other digital devices as well as any information stored by the vehicle itself. A review of the driver’s bank account information for the time prior to the accident may reveal use at a fast food restaurant five to ten minutes prior to a collision. One benefit of today’s society is that the digital footprints we each leave make it possible for an experienced trial attorney, to present a picture so clearly that juries can all but see inside the vehicle.

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