Recently, a retired lady from Grandview, Missouri suffered severe head, neck, left arm, and knee injuries in an inter-sectional collision at 97th and Metcalf Avenue in Ovrland Park, Kansas. The crash occurred in the late afternoon when the Grandview woman was driving northbound on Metcalf ran a red light and violently broadsided the woman’s vehicle as she was making a left hand turn, with the right-of-way, onto southbound Metcalf. The severe force of impact caused the Grandview woman’s vehicle to collide head on with another vehicle causing the front air bags to deploy. In total, 4 cars were involved in the crash.
The most significant injuries were to the Grandview woman. The force of impact caused her a hyper-flexion/extension injury to her head and neck (commonly referred to as “whiplash”) and trauma to both of her knees as they were propelled into the dashboard. Additionally, she suffered burns to her left arm from the air bag explosion, which was caused when the air bag burnt a hole right through her overcoat arm sleeve.
She was immediately transported by ambulance to Menorah Medical Center. At the hospital she was stabilized, x-rayed (along with other diagnostic testing) and was eventually released to the care of family members. She is now under the care of several doctors, including an orthopedic expert, and is expected to be sent for rehabilitation.
The early investigations in this case suggests that the driver who ran the red light had taken her eyes off the road to use her cell phone. The investigation of this crash will not be fully complete the cell records are examined. In my experience as an Overland Park, Kansas Distracted Driving Accident Attorney, the best evidence in proving distracted driving will come in the form of the cell phone records. The cell phone records will not only contain information concerning the duration of telephone calls placed and received, but will allow disclose text transmissions (both text messages sent and received). Because the cell records will list phone activity by both hour and minute, it is important that the legal investigations identify the exact time of the crash.
In any distracted driving accident it is also important for the personal injury lawyer to consider the level of fault/liability. In this case, if the driver who caused the crash was using her cell phone at the time she ran the red light, the liability will be considered to be “aggravated”. The liability is “aggravated” by the fact that the at fault driver knew or should have known that her conduct was highly dangerous and involved a substantial risk of harm to her passengers and others on the road. An aggravated liability determination is significant to the successful resolution of the case.
As an aside, in the past, the most common type of aggravated liability case resulting from a motor vehicle accident is the case where the driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol. Now, because of the proliferation of the cell phone, distracted driving collisions represent the most common form of aggravated liability on the roadway.
I might note that a contributing factor to the determination of aggravated liability is the fact that the at fault driver did not disclose that she was using her cell phone to investigating authorities.
In my experience as a distracted driving accident lawyer, distracted drivers are more dangerous than drunk driving. The reason for this is two-fold. First, there are significantly more drivers on the road who are distracted. Drivers tend to copy the behavior of other drivers. This causes a new universe of risk for all drivers. Second, because a distracted driver normally does not have any reaction time, crashes caused by distracted drivers usually involve a severe force of impact. As a result, distracted driving wrecks cause greater injury and more probability of a fatality.
In this case, the Grandview woman’s vehicle suffered two major impacts. Not only did this cause greater trauma to her head, neck, and back, but also to both of her knees. Further orthopedic evaluation will be necessary for these injuries and it looks like she is facing a much longer rehabilitation time because of the violent collision. Additionally, injuries like these tend to produce chronic issues, including the permanent loss of range of motion and the need for more complex pain management.
The air bag burn injury is also significant. In all my time as a Kansas City motor vehicle accident attorney, I never have seen a situation where an air bag deployment actually caused a hole to be burnt through thick clothing. It looks like a second to third degree burn and is likely to result in permanent scarring on her forearm
This report is authored by Douglas R. Horn who is Lead Attorney of The Horn Law Firm. As an Overland Park, Kansas Distracted Driving Accident lawyer, Horn concentrates his practice in representing individuals who have been hurt in motor vehicle collisions.