Injured by a Texter – Hit Them with Punitive Damages
It’s hard to understand why so many people won’t stop texting while driving. Each year,
untimely deaths and statistics keep proving that when you text and drive – if you don’t cause
your own death – you may still seriously maim or kill someone else. According to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),”Driving . . . while texting is six times more
dangerous than driving while intoxicated.”
But if saving an innocent person’s life isn’t enough motivation to prevent texting and
driving, some Florida judges have come to the rescue. Judges in in Fort Lauderdale, Naples
and West Palm Beach have ruled that a person that causes an injury or death while texting can be
hit with punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish an at fault party, and can be
for any amount a judge or jury feels is adequate to punish the at fault person. If a judge or jury
rules that punitive damages should be awarded, there is no insurance coverage for this type of
damages; you cannot discharge punitive damages in bankruptcy court, and you could have a
permanent lifetime drivers license suspension of your driving privileges if the award is not paid.
Distracted driving – which involves taking your hands, eyes (and/or) mind off the road
for even a short amount of time – will probably keep causing numerous injuries and deaths every
year, until severe penalties are enacted to curb this thoughtless behavior.
- Every day in the United States, “more than nine (9) people are killed and more than 1,060 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver,”
- In 2011, distracted drivers caused the deaths of approximately 3,331 people and the injuries of 387,000 others;
- Text messages are often involved in a large percentage of these accidents. During June of 2011, roughly 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the United States – up nearly 50% from June of 2009;
- 2010 statistics reveal that “nearly one in five crashes (18%) in which someone was injured involved distracted driving.”
Researchers have recently compared all forms of cell phone usage in America with that of many other countries — Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Among other findings, they discovered:
- During the 30 days prior to being questioned, 69% of American drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 “reported that they talked on their cell phones while driving;”
- When residents of these other countries answered this same question, their answers ranged from 21% in the United Kingdom to 59% in Portugal;
- “Thirty-one (31%) of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed;”
- Once again, our European friends often revealed safer habits. Their answers fell in the range from 15% in Spain to 31% in Portugal.
A simple subpoena to the at fault texting driver’s cell phone provider can require a cell phone company to produce all the phone records, including the time and substance of text messages. If the records confirm texting was occurring at the time of the accident, and you have been injured by the texter, it is time to ask the Court to punish the texting driver with punitive damages.
If you’ve suffered a serious car accident or injury, contact the Maus Law Firm to learn more about your rights. The Maus Law Firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach and the Florida Keys, and handles accident and injury claims throughout Miami-Dade, Monroe, Collier, Lee, Broward and Palm Beach counties. You’ll need the help of an experienced South Florida accident and injury lawyer on your side. Call Toll Free today at: (855) 999-LAWS, or locally at (954) 784-6310.