Example of a Distracted Driving Accident We Handled

Our client was traveling toward Bangor, near Ellsworth, when a vehicle veered into his lane. In an effort to avoid the accident, our client steered toward the shoulder and lost control of his truck due, in part, to the weather conditions (snow and ice) and the steepness of the shoulder. His truck rolled once, before coming to a rest. He suffered serious injuries to his shoulder, neck, and back.

The defendant driver apparently did not realize he drove our client off the road and continued on without stopping. Fortunately the driver of the vehicle behind him saw what occurred and began honking her horn. The defendant driver eventually pulled over some distance down the road.

The insurance company for the defendant driver claimed that our client over-reacted to what the insurance adjuster referred to as a “minor” and “brief” maneuver by the defendant driver crossing over the center line. The insurance adjuster further claimed that the “real cause” of the accident was the inclement weather. Based on these claims, the defendant driver’s insurance carrier denied coverage for our client’s injuries, loss of income, pain and suffering, etc.

Our private investigator immediately contacted the witness to obtain a statement which confirmed what our client observed, namely, that the other driver swerved into his lane approximately two feet before steering his vehicle back into his lane. The witness signed a statement confirming this information, which we provided to the insurance company. Not surprisingly, the insurance company adjuster continued to take the position that our client overreacted and lost control of his truck due to the weather. The insurance adjuster claimed that the defendant driver had moved back into his lane several car lengths before our client began steering to the side of the road in an attempt to avoid a collision. Unfortunately the witness could not accurately say how far our client’s vehicle was from the defendant driver when he swerved into our client’s lane.

Because of this impasse, we filled a lawsuit against the defendant driver on our client’s behalf. We obtained copies of the defendant driver’s cell phone records which showed that he was speaking on his cellphone—and therefore distracted—at the time of the accident. This evidence ultimately led to the insurance company reversing its position that the defendant driver was not at fault for causing the accident.

However, the insurance company continued to take the position that several of our client’s injuries, particularly his back problems, pre-existed the accident and refused to compensate our client for those injuries. We employed an expert orthopedist who, together with our client’s treating primary care doctor, provided convincing testimony that the problems our client experienced prior to the accident were relatively minor and caused little impact on his day-to-day activities, particularly his ability to work a fairly strenuous job. We also had our client’s family members provide statements concerning their “before and after” observations of our client’s functional ability. All of this information ultimately resulted in the case being successfully resolved. Our client informed us that he was very satisfied with the outcome.

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