A Los Angeles man who was catastrophically injured in a 2015 car accident was recently granted a multi-million dollar award. According to reports, the woman responsible for causing the devastating accident was texting at the time of the crash.
Since she was paying attention to her phone, rather than the road, she ran a stop sign and broadsided the victim’s car. His neck was severely injured in the crash and ultimately caused him to suffer a quadriplegic injury. A jury decided that his injuries entitled him to an award of $42 million in damages.
Texting and Driving
In California, drivers have an obligation to drive safely and use caution. This duty of care exists to minimize the number of accidents and injuries that happen on state roads. Unfortunately, an increasing number of drivers are shirking their responsibility and engaging in dangerous practices behind the wheel. Using a cell phone to text, check social media, and livestream daily events while driving has become commonplace.
Unfortunately, texting and driving has proven to be one of the most dangerous things a person can do.
Statistics show that approximately 64% of all reported car accidents in the country involve cell phone use. This means that nearly two-thirds of all accidents involve some form of distracted driving practices.
Texting and driving can be incredibly dangerous. In fact, research shows drivers who text are six times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers who are drunk. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,460 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2016. As we know, however, texting and driving can result in non-fatal accidents that are nearly as devastating. In 2015, at least 391,000 people – including the Los Angeles man – suffered injuries in distracted driving accidents.
Damages for Distracted Driving Accident Victims
The consequences of texting and driving can be devastating for both the driver and victim. The victim is at risk of suffering life-changing and catastrophic injuries that can generate tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and related expenses. In California, victims have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to demand compensation from the person responsible for causing them harm. As a result, the driver who chose to text may be responsible for shouldering these extraordinary costs.
Damages in California personal injury lawsuits are typically divided into one of three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages are paid to help an accident victim cover the financial costs of an accident. These damages, however, are limited to a victim’s verifiable past, present, and projected future expenses. You can only recover as much as you’ve spent (or anticipate to spend). Examples of economic damages include:
- Nursing care
- Transportation and lodging necessary for medical treatment
- Home alterations made necessary by a catastrophic injury
- Medically-necessary equipment and devices
- Lost wages and income
- Reduced earning capacity, and
Not all Los Angeles car accident injuries will have a direct financial cost. In fact, many injuries will be very intimate and hard to value in terms of dollars and cents. Non-economic damages can be awarded to compensate for these types of injuries. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety and depression
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of sexual relations, and
Since it is so difficult to place a value on these kinds of injuries, awards of non-economic damages can vary significantly from one case to another. The specific circumstances of each individual case and each individual defendant will be important in assessing a value to these harms.
Punitive damages are those awarded as a way of punishing a negligent driver for his or her actions. However, punitive damages are typically reserved for cases where a driver demonstrates fraudulent, malicious, or incredibly reckless behavior.
Any punitive damages are in addition to awards of economic and non-economic damages.
Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney
Have you recently been involved in a Los Angeles car accident? Are you struggling to cope with a painful and debilitating injury? If someone else is responsible for causing you harm you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney for help getting the money you deserve.