Most car crashes are not “accidents.” People accidentally leave the lights on. They do not accidentally drive dangerously and cause crashes. It is better to describe car wrecks as mistakes. We all make mistakes, and we must all deal with the consequences of our mistakes. In this context, those consequences usually include paying damages.
At Holland & Holland, our Indianapolis auto accident attorneys work hard to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. We diligently collect evidence that supports your claim. Then, we skillfully put that evidence together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. This approach helps us settle most claims out of court and on victim-friendly terms.
Driver impairment, such as substance use or fatigue, causes about half of the car crashes in Marion County. Most of these impairments slow reaction times and cloud judgment ability. That combination is often devastating when these individuals operate heavy machinery, including motor vehicles.
Compensation is usually higher in driver impairment cases. Arguably, these drivers intentionally disregard a known risk when they get behind the wheel.
Reckless operation, such as making an illegal turn or speeding, also causes about half of car crashes. This reckless operation could be a disregard of a traffic law or the failure to adjust to conditions. For example, the duty of reasonable care requires motorists to slow down in the rain. But many drivers fail to do so.
The duty of reasonable care, which applies to most noncommercial drivers, requires motorists to drive defensively and avoid accidents when possible. Uber drivers, taxi drivers, and other commercial operators typically have a higher duty of care.
If the driver’s behavior falls below that standard, and that breach of duty causes injury, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is legally responsible for damages.
Distracted driving is a good example of a breach of duty. Technically, rolling down the window and talking to a passenger is distracted driving. But most jurors do not consider these momentary lapses to be a breach of duty. More dangerous behavior, like texting or eating while driving, is another matter.
Reckless operation often involves the negligence per se rule. Tortfeasors could be liable for damages as a matter of law if:
Since the speed limit law and other safety laws establish the standard of care, there is no need to independently prove a breach of duty in a negligence per se claim.
Frequently, the tortfeasor is not the only party who is responsible for damages. Some common vicarious liability theories include respondeat superior employer liability, negligent entrustment owner liability, and dram shop alcohol provider liability. Since employers, owners, and commercial alcohol providers can stop crashes before they start, these entities are liable for the results.
Vicarious liability is especially important in wrongful death and other catastrophic injury claims. Frequently, these tortfeasors do not have enough insurance coverage to provide fair compensation. So, vicarious liability gives these victims an additional source of financial recovery.
Car crash victims could be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Indianapolis auto accident attorney, contact Holland & Holland.
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