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Inattentive Mobile Phone User Causes Crash, Serious Injuries, Lawsuit & Verdict

A $14.4 million jury verdict has been awarded to the victim of a head-on automobile accident which was allegedly caused by an inattentive driver, who was using his cell phone at the time of the crash. The victim was taken to an area hospital where he remained for over a month from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), fractured left humerus (arm bone), and crushed left ankle. The TBI has caused difficulties with recognition, processing and understanding the speech of others, and concentrating. Often times, he cannot recognize his wife or young child.

The injured man’s injuries are debilitating. He is unable to work and requires daily assistance. Prior to the accident, he worked as a repairman earning between $40,000 and $50,000 each year. Not only has his family lost his income, they continue to receive medical bills from previous surgeries and ongoing physical therapy. Sadly, his brain injuries are permanent. His wife sought recovery of damages for loss of consortium. She works part-time; she is unable to work full-time because of the personal care needs of her husband. A jury awarded the plaintiff $14.4 million – $10.4 million for the plaintiff and $4 million for his wife. Whether or when the family will receive the verdict proceeds is still in question. Will there be an appeal?

Auto accidents due to distracted driving are becoming a troubling phenomenon. Many states have passed laws curtailing mobile phone use and texting while driving, but drivers continue to ignore the law and their own (and others’) safety. If you are one of these, please think twice before using your mobile phone while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Pull over and stop your vehicle if you must use your phone. This case is a graphic example of what can result from distracted driving; one person is permanently disabled, brain damaged, unable to work; the other must live with the consequences of his actions and an arrest for reckless driving. Would you want to be either of these people?

The victim has a long journey to recovery with little hope that he will ever resume work or many of the activities he once performed. The case has resolved relatively quickly; if the resolution was paid by the insurance company and no appeals are planned, the financial devastation that usually results from these cases may be avoided.

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