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Distracted Driving Accidents

We’re trial lawyers. Our core competency – above everything else – is trying cases to juries. And we specialize in beating giants.

Minneapolis Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer

Driving is an activity that requires strict attention to the road so that you aren’t putting yourself and any other drivers in danger. However, there are many distractions both inside and outside the vehicle that can take your attention away from the task at hand. When a driver allows their focus to stray from the road, they can cause serious accidents with the objects, people, and cars all around them.

These can cause severe injuries for anyone involved in the collision. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a distracted driver in Minneapolis, then you could use legal help from Madia Law LLC. Our Minneapolis distracted driving accident lawyer will protect your rights, prove the other driver was at fault, and get you full and fair compensation for your injuries and any other damages that you incurred.

Minneapolis Distracted Driving Laws

Before getting behind the wheel, you should be aware of the state’s laws for distracted driving. If you’ve been in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you aren’t at fault for what happened. The other driver might know that what they did was morally wrong, but they might not know that what they did was also illegal. In order to hold them accountable and prove that they were the one liable for the accident, it’s important for you to know Minnesota distracted driving laws.

According to Minnesota’s Office of Traffic Safety, these are the main distracted driving laws that you should know:

  • Composing, reading, or sending electronic communication messages as well as accessing the internet while driving are all illegal for drivers of all ages.
  • The above actions are also illegal when the driver is stopped in traffic or at a light.
  • Hands-free devices and use of a navigation system are legal to use for drivers over 18 years of age.
  • Drivers 18 years of age and younger cannot use a cell phone behind the wheel for any reason, which includes hands-free devices.
  • School bus drivers are not allowed to use a cell phone at any time.
  • Distracted driving is considered reckless or careless driving and can be ticketed by law enforcement.

Cell phone use isn’t the only way you can be distracted while driving. Communication devices are just the most prevalent causes of distraction in this day and age. There are other distractions that can occur behind the wheel, like:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Grooming
  • Makeup
  • Changing the radio station
  • Talking to others in the car
  • Daydreaming

Any of these distractions could lead to you getting a ticket for reckless driving because you weren’t paying attention to the road, which should be your only concern when you are driving a vehicle.

If someone else’s careless driving caused a collision that left you with injuries, you could use the help of a Minneapolis distracted driving attorney. One of our lawyers can help you recover compensation for the damages that you suffered at the hand of a negligent driver.

Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics

Drivers get desensitized to the dangers of driving. Motor vehicles are large, heavy, and travel at high speeds that can cause serious damage or even death to anyone in their path. Drivers have to be responsible for their actions. Part of that responsibility is removing all distractions from the driver’s view and mind. When they fail to do this, they are at a great risk for an accident.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, distracted driving causes one in seven accidents in our state. In 2019, there were over 3,000 injuries caused by distracted drivers, and 32 people died as a result of the careless act. In general, distracted driving causes about 195 life-changing injuries per year, and about 40 deaths every year in our state. Those numbers are staggering considering that they are all preventable collisions if the driver were attentive.

There are consequences that come from driving and paying attention to something else. If you’re caught driving while distracted, the first time your ticket fines and court fees will come out to $120. After your second ticket or any other later ticket, they will come out to $300 or more. Not only will you get these fines, but your insurance company could also increase their rates because you have proven to be an unsafe driver.

Additionally, if you injure or kill anyone from an accident caused by your distracted driving, then you could be charged with a felony. The state’s hands-free law includes distracted driving under criminal vehicular operation, or if you kill a person, homicide.

When you are injured by a driver who was distracted, you could use legal help to ensure that they are held accountable for their criminal actions. A Minneapolis distracted driving lawyer from our firm is well-versed in state and federal law and will be able to guide you through the legal process.

How to Recover Damages

You might be wondering what damages you can recover from the distracted driver who caused your injuries and other damages. With the help of one of our lawyers from Madia Law LLC, you’ll be able to get the compensation that you deserve for the different costs you incurred. Let’s take a look at what you can recover from your accident.

The first type of damages that your attorney will look at to calculate how much you’re owed is economic damages. These are the real costs that you suffered as a result of your injuries and property damage. Documentation like medical bills, repair costs, and lost wages are all factored into how much you can recover. Future medical costs, inability to return to work, and future missed wages can also be included in these damages.

Noneconomic damages are the next factor into your financial compensation. These are harder to calculate and focus on more emotional and abstract costs that you suffered as a result of the accident. These include things like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. Your lawyer will know how much you’re owed for these damages so that you don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Your Minneapolis distracted driving accident attorney will collect all the documents that prove your damages, that the other driver was at fault, and use that information to calculate how much you’re owed. With our legal support, you can feel confident in your claim and know that you’ll get justice. Contact us today.

THE MADIA LAW WAY

We have a process that works in getting exceptional results for our clients. 

We are trial lawyers who prepare every case for trial from Day 1. Investigation and legal research are the first things we do, and we spend a lot of time on them. Because we haven’t filed the case yet, we have complete control – the defendant has no say and we want to use this time wisely.  We interview witnesses that can help us prove the case.  We’ll ask you for all relevant documents in your possession and review those carefully as well.  We also will spend some time conducting legal research about unique issues in the case.  We pull the jury instructions that the judge will ultimately charge the jury with after closing arguments at trial. 

Our next step is typically to send a demand letter to the defendant. In the letter, we thoroughly lay out: the facts surrounding the defendant’s misconduct; the applicable law (including statutory and case citations) that make clear that the defendant broke the law; an analysis of your damages and the defendant’s monetary exposure; a demand for a monetary amount to settle the claim; and an instruction to preserve all relevant evidence, including electronic evidence. The point of this letter is to give the defendant a chance to do the right thing and pay a fair amount before litigation, and to give the defendant an opportunity to present any defenses or evidence it wants us to consider before moving forward.  Sometimes we skip the demand letter if there are strategic reasons to move straight to filing, but we typically give defendants a chance to do the right thing.

If early negotiations fail, great – we file a Complaint and serve the defendant with it. A Complaint is a legal document that states the facts of what happened and alleges how the defendant broke the law. It formally starts the lawsuit.  Many lawyers draft complaints in a general and relatively vague way, just to get it done and filed – because that’s all that’s really required.  We take a different view. We view the Complaint as our first chance to tell your story to the judge, and we take it seriously. So we draft detailed complaints and include legal citations to statutory and judicial authority on unique points.  Sometimes we’ll include a number of exhibits, diagrams, or other demonstrative aids to help the Court understand our claims.  A secondary benefit of this approach is that defense lawyers reading the Complaint can become educated on the problems of their case and the state of the law – sometimes this leads them to reach out to us shortly after service of the Complaint to re-initiate settlement negotiations.  Of course, by that time, the price for settlement has gone up.

Some lawyers view written discovery as a necessary evil – something to get done and out of the way before depositions.  Not us.  Written discovery is a gift and an opportunity.  We spend a great deal of time crafting requests for documents and interrogatories (questions for the defendant to answer in writing) that are specific, detailed, and tailored to get what we need to prove our case.  Many lawyers – even great ones – think written discovery is a waste of time because defense lawyers typically answer them on behalf of their clients and can try to stonewall with legalese and objections.  We view this as a wonderful opportunity.  In our experience, most defense lawyers can’t help themselves when answering discovery: they over-state their defenses and make assertions that their clients will not be able to support in testimony. So we get to commit the defendant to defenses that they can’t back up, leading to contradictions, confusion, and chaos in their depositions later on.  We also use Requests for Admission – which many lawyers don’t.  The Federal Rules and Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure allow us to ask defendants to “admit” certain facts.  We send them RFAs that are very difficult for them to deny.  Of course, they do it anyway, but that sets them up later for cost and fee-shifting, which the Rules mandate for defendants that deny RFAs that are later proven true.  And usually, we can get the defendants’ own witnesses to admit facts that their defense lawyers denied in RFA.  That’s a great situation that leads to more chaos and confusion on the defense side.

One last point on written discovery – we send multiple waves of it throughout discovery.  We typically send 3 or 4 sets of written discovery requests to defendants throughout discovery.  This compounds the problems for them, because the defense lawyers continue to overstate their defenses, but now run into contradictions from not just the defendant witnesses’ deposition testimony, but also their own previous discovery responses.  This makes for a great record that we can present to the judge at dispositive motions, and use for impeachment at trial.

This is our chance to question relevant witnesses, on the record with a court reporter (we typically videotape important depositions as well). We get to confront the defense witnesses with all of the evidence we’ve developed through written discovery and document production. By this time, the defendant put its witnesses in an impossible position through its written defenses, which are often untrue and indefensible.  So the witness has to either lie to support the defense, or admit it’s not true.  That’s a dilemma that works for our clients either way, no matter which option the witness takes.  We use depositions to expose contradictions, create a record for dispositive motions, lock witnesses into their stories so that we can impeach them later at trial, and sometimes, to show defense lawyers how hopeless their case is.  We often calls from defense counsel shortly after depositions of their clients, seeking to re-start settlement negotiations.

The defendant will usually make a motion for summary judgment after discovery, asking the Court to throw out the case without having a jury trial. Because we’ve hit discovery so hard – both through written discovery and depositions – this is a tough motion for defense counsel to write in our cases.  We draft our response for the Court and now get to bring everything together: the admissions, contradictions, nonsense, and obvious fact disputes that we’ve uncovered through discovery.  We tell a compelling story that wraps everything together for the Court and makes clear that the defense motion has to be denied, and the defendant needs to face a jury for its conduct.

Sometimes, we’ll even make an affirmative motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to grant judgment in favor of our client without a trial. These motions are generally rare for plaintiffs to make, because the defendant can usually point to some fact dispute on its intent or some other factor that necessitates a trial. But we make affirmative summary judgment motions significantly more than is typical for plaintiffs, and that’s because the work we put in during discovery helps build a fantastic record to do so.

After the Court denies the defense motion for summary judgment, the defendant has only 2 options: 1) do the right thing and pay you a fair amount to our client to settle your claim (usually much, much more at this point than the defendant could have paid at the beginning of the case to settle); or 2) face a jury for its conduct and risk an enormous verdict. This is the dilemma that we have been creating and forcing the defendant into for the entire case. We’ll engage in settlement negotiations at this point from a position of extreme strength, mainly because most defendants are (rightly) terrified of facing a jury to defend their conduct.

This is, candidly, our favorite part of the case – why we went to law school: to hold the powerful accountable before juries.  We prepare heavily for trial, including: detailed witness preparation, focus groups, and mock trials.  At this point, the potential outcomes and consequences for the defendant are much more severe than if it simply did the right thing at the beginning of the case and paid a fair amount to compensate our client for its misconduct.  As we advocate to the jury for our client, we’re also mindful of protecting the record so that defendants will be unsuccessful in attacking the verdict in post-trial motions or appeal.

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