Michael P. Stuermer, a Partner at the law firm of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, recently obtained an $825,000 settlement on behalf of a pedestrian who was injured as the result of being struck by the vehicle of a distracted driver.
The following provides an overview of distracted driving, details on the accident and injuries in this case, information on the result obtained for the injured pedestrian, and who to contact for a free case review if you suspect you have been the victim of an injury caused by a distracted driver.
Distracted Driving Epidemic
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes distracted driving simply as any activity that diverts attention from driving. Such activities commonly include texting on a phone, eating & drinking, talking to passengers in the car, and adjusting a car’s entertainment or navigation system.
According to a recent NHTSA report, in 2015, 391,000 individuals from across the United States suffered some form of injury from a motor vehicle accident that involved distracted driving. An additional 3,477 were killed in distracted driving crashes.
Pedestrians Impacted by Distracted Driving
The consequences of distracted driving go beyond the drivers and passengers of vehicles. In 2016, 562 non-occupants such as walkers, bicyclists, and other pedestrians, were killed in distracted driving related accidents.
Texting While Driving
Texting and other use of smart phone technology accounts for nearly 15% of distracted driving fatalities in the United States. In New York State, the number of traffic tickets issued for texting while driving increased 981% from 2011 to 2016.
Distracted driving, and texting while driving in particular, has become such a concern that the U.S Department of Transportation (USDOT) and NHTSA have declared the month of April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The agencies run an annual $5 million advertising campaign to raise awareness for the prevention of distracted driving accidents.
New York State Mobile Phone and Portable Electronic Devices Laws
The State of New York prohibits all drivers from utilizing portable electronic devices when operating a vehicle.
Illegal activity includes holding a portable electronic device and:
- Talking on a handheld mobile telephone;
- Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or webpages
- Viewing, taking, or transmitting images
- Playing games
The penalty for violating this law is a monetary fine and five violation points on your New York State driver’s license. A complete list of New York State’s portable electronic devices laws, exceptions to the laws, and fines for violating the law can be found here.
Details of Case
Pedestrian Hit by Vehicle of Distracted Driver
On a September evening at dusk, a young man in his 20’s was walking within the shoulder of the road along Route 5 in Hamburg, New York. At the same time, a man driving his vehicle on Route 5, diverted his focus from the road to read messages on his mobile phone. When the driver became distracted from looking at his phone, his vehicle veered out of the proper lane of traffic and in to the shoulder of the road. Consequently, the driver’s vehicle hit the young man walking along Route 5.
Injuries Suffered by Pedestrian
As a result of being struck by the distracted driver’s vehicle, the young man walking along Route 5 suffered head injuries, fractures to his face, and fractures to his foot. Pedestrian accidents often result in critical injuries or death. However, the young man in this case was fortunate to fully heal and not suffer any long-term effects from the injuries he sustained.
Result for Pedestrian
Attorney Michael Stuermer represented the young man who was injured in this case. Mr. Stuermer pursued damages on behalf of the injured young man for his medical expenses as well as pain and suffering endured as a result of the injuries sustained in this accident.
Driver’s Duty of Care
Mr. Stuermer worked with Hamburg Police to ensure the driver of the vehicle disclosed his use of a mobile device at the time of the accident. Securing the driver’s statement regarding the use of his phone was a crucial element in this case, as it confirmed that the driver failed to adhere to a reasonable duty of care. During the jury selection process for the trial in this case, Mr. Stuermer obtained a settlement of $825,000 for the young man.
For More Information
Michael Stuermer has over twenty years of experience as a trial lawyer. He has been distinguished for his work in personal injury law, including being named to The Best Lawyers in America for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. Many local attorneys refer matters to Mr. Stuermer when their clients have sustained serious injuries. If you have been injured as the result of a distracted driver or have suffered any other injury, contact Michael Stuermer for a free case review.