Motor vehicle operators are prohibited by law from engaging in activities that interfere with the safe operation of their vehicle. Despite that rule of law, distracted driving remains a serious danger on our roadways. In Wisconsin, e.g., one person was injured or killed in an inattentive driving-related crash every 46 minutes, according to reports of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. One every 46 minutes!
In the two years preceding 2016, the report adds, injury and fatality figures from distracted driving crashes “increased significantly.” In addition, the report concludes, inattentive driving is “almost certainly under-reported,” especially because of the increase in cell phone use and the difficulty of determining cell phone use in a crash.
Think of how often you have seen a driver talking or texting while driving on the roadway or stopped at a red light alongside your car. Or tuning their car’s radio. Or putting on make-up. Or eating. Or looking at a GPS device. Each of these activities can distract the driver from the safe operation of the vehicle. Each can cause injury and death.
It has been estimated that reading – not writing, but just reading – a text message while driving distracts a driver for a minimum of five seconds. At 45 mph, a car will travel 110 yards in five seconds; greater than the length of a football field! The simple act of reading a text message has the same impact as closing your eyes for five seconds while driving. The danger is obvious.
If you have been injured in a collision where the other driver may have been driving while distracted, you need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney at Clifford & Raihala. Each personal injury attorney at Clifford & Raihala investigates crashes to see if our client has been injured due to the inattention of a distracted driver. When that happens, the other driver is negligent and should compensate our client for losses suffered, both physical and economic. Our experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorneys know that collisions due to distracted driving are preventable if drivers follow the basic rule: Just Drive!
If you’ve been injured in a collision and believe it may have been caused by another driver’s distracted driving, contact a Clifford & Raihala Wisconsin personal injury attorney for a free consultation and evaluation of your claim.
In January 2017, Clifford & Raihala recovered $885,000 for their client who had suffered a severe concussion and spinal fracture when a young motorist ignored a stop sign and caused a violent collision. The client now suffers persistent headaches and other disability from her traumatic brain injury.
The insurance company initially refused at first to offer fair compensation, so Attorney John Raihala filed a lawsuit to force the insurer to treat his client fairly. Raihala put together a team of doctors to help win the case, including a brain specialist who works with the Chicago Bears professional football team. “We do whatever it takes to help our clients and we didn’t give up,” said Raihala. That commitment made the insurance company pay $885,000, nearly two times their earlier “final” offer.
In late 2016, Clifford & Raihala obtained $1,000,000 for a woman whose car had been rear-ended by a commercial van. That collision caused the client to suffer a head injury leaving her with persistent double vision.
The client’s injuries were not clear at first, so Clifford & Raihala advised her to resist a quick settlement that would have failed to pay her full compensation. Later, after the actual extent of her injuries became known, the insurance company refused to pay a fair amount. Clifford & Raihala then filed a lawsuit and fought for their client and obtained a $1,000,000 settlement from the insurance company to help their client and her family recover.
Clifford & Raihala, S.C. obtained a $724,600 settlement for its client after filing suit. The client was severely injured in a car accident when a vehicle drifted across the centerline and into oncoming traffic, colliding with the client’s vehicle. The client suffered a cervical “hangman’s fracture” as well as a severe heel fracture. The resulting injuries required two separate surgeries and 12 weeks in a wheel chair. The client now lives with a permanent limp.
The case was settled through mediation. “My client was first offered just $300,000, less than half the final settlement,” said Attorney Keith Clifford, “but we continued to fight because we knew our client deserved better.” The client received special damages including $74,000 towards the client’s medical expenses, $69,000 for home care services, and $20,275 for lost wages. The total settlement, including the special damages, amounted to $724,600.
In winter of 2014, John Raihala and his team won a settlement of $550,000 for the estate of a woman involved in a personal injury auto accident case. Several weeks prior to her death, the victim was a passenger in a car accident caused by a negligent driver who failed to yield. Although she hit her head on the seat of the car, she did not experience symptoms until the following morning when she was treated for a concussion and released from the emergency room. Several weeks later, she again experienced symptoms but was treated and released. A week later she suffered from a series of acute ischemic strokes, caused by the earlier head injury. The strokes eventually lead to her death.
The defense attorney argued that her death was a result of a previously existing condition, not the accident. However, Raihala discredited this by calling upon the subject’s neurologist who confirmed that the collision “was a substantial factor in causing the patient’s severe encephaolopathy and subsequent strokes which ultimately led to her death.”