In a Virginia auto accident case settled recently, a city employee talking with her daughter on the cell phone while turning a corner hit a man in a crosswalk. The beginning of the holiday shopping season warrants a reminder to all Virginians that using a cell phone while driving is dangerous, and illegal. As eager shoppers dart from one store to another, often failing to watch for traffic, the danger of harm by a distracted driver is exponentially greater. Drivers need to be alert and particularly attentive to pedestrians.
The Case: City Employee Hits Man in Crosswalk
A 78-year-old man was crossing a busy street at an intersection in a marked crosswalk. A City employee was making a left turn onto the busy street. The driver failed to yield the right of way and hit the man (plaintiff). The impact caused the man to fall to the pavement, hitting his head on the pavement.
The City employee said in her deposition that she did not see the plaintiff before she hit him. She claimed to have been blinded by the sun. She also admitted that she was talking on her cell phone with her daughter at the time.
The plaintiff suffered “Traumatic brain injuries – concussion, and internal bleeding of the brain, diagnosed as a subdural hematoma, a multicompartmental post-traumatic intracranial hemorrhage with subarachnoid, intraventricular and parenchymal hemorrhage, and encephalomalacia.” The injuries caused permanent brain damage to the plaintiff that affected his memory.
The brain injury suffered by the plaintiff proved to be life-changing. He was not able to return to his home, where he had resided throughout his life. At the time of the accident, he was living unassisted with his 92-year-old sister. Both the plaintiff and his sister had to move to an assisted living situation because of his injuries.
The plaintiff’s medical bills were claimed at $335.000. The city employee was fulfilling work responsibilities when the accident occurred. For this reason, the City paid the $2 million settlement of the case to the plaintiff.
The number of Virginia accidents that occurred while a driver was talking on a cell phone appears to be on the same track as in 2017.
Despite laws prohibiting use of cell phones (for calling or texting) while driving, the number of accidents is not declining noticeably. Injuries resulting from auto – pedestrian accidents are typically serious because the pedestrians are unprotected from harm. The outcome of the injuries sustained are often life-changing.
How does a City employee performing the duties of her employment hit a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk? The driver is almost always distracted. In this case, the driver was talking on the phone with her daughter while driving.
As we enter the period of holiday shopping and activities, it is important that drivers be particularly alert and attentive to their driving and their surroundings. Together we can make this a safer holiday season for everyone. Let’s just put away the cell phones when we are driving.
If you or a loved one is injured by a distracted driver and through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your hurts and harms. Call Altizer Law, P.C., to schedule your free initial consultation. Bettina Altizer and her team have significant experience in cases of this sort. With their widely recognized compassion for people and toughness in fighting for them, they will fight for you to win the largest possible financial compensation justified under Virginia law.