A California Jury Awards $420,000 to Two Plumbers Rear-Ended by a Distracted Driver

When you’re injured in a rear-end crash with a distracted driver, there is a lot of potential evidence that can help you achieve the full compensation you deserve. Because yours is a rear-end accident, the rear driver will generally be considered to be at fault, so you may not need as much proof of fault, unless the defendant driver alleges that you caused the crash with some inappropriate and unexpected maneuver.

Nevertheless, you may still need to do extensive discovery and put on considerable evidence in order to show the court how bad your wreck was and how extensive your harm was, among other things. In other words, you need an experienced Oakland car accident attorney on your side to be sure you have what it takes to get what you deserve.

A few months ago, there was a ruling from a court in the Central Coast involving a rear-end crash with a distracted driver. According to news reports, a Santa Maria police officer, who the city alleged was on a call, was viewing suspect information on his in-dash computer while driving. Because of that, he was delayed in noticing stopped traffic in front of him. He eventually did notice and, though he slammed on his brakes, he rear-ended the truck of two plumbers on their way to a job.

The jury in the plumbers’ case awarded them damages totaling roughly $420,000.

Even if the defendant in your rear-end crash is clearly at fault, your case can still possibly benefit from forensic evidence. An accident reconstruction or other scientific expert can help the jury understand just how severe the accident was, which can help them better grasp and appreciate just how serious your injuries were. That, in turn, can help them understand why you should receive the amount of medical expense, lost wages and pain-and-suffering damages you’ve requested. In the plumbers’ case, they had experts that concluded that, although the police officer slammed on his brakes, he was still going 30 mph when he crashed into the truck and the force of that crash sent the truck into another vehicle.

Additionally if, as these plumbers were, you’re dealing with an accident where you were hurt by a distracted driver, then you will want to pursue getting as much evidence as possible about that distraction to strengthen your case. Depending on what evidence you can obtain, you may be entitled to punitive damages. In the plumbers’ case, the distracted driver was a police officer responding to a situation and looking at suspect information as part of that task. In that circumstance, the officer was not behaving with the required level of “willful and wanton” kind of reckless misconduct to warrant to an award of punitive damages.

However, most distracted-driver cases don’t involve a police officer en route to try to apprehend a criminal. If your distracted-driver accident involved, as these cases more commonly do, a driver who was texting, Tweeting, Instagramming or otherwise engaged with a cell phone, then you need to acquire all the evidence you can about that phone’s usage. Proof that the driver who hit you was Instagramming a selfie he/she just took mere moments earlier at the time of the crash may be enough to persuade the court that the required degree of willfulness and wantonness was present to justify an award of punitive damages, which is an additional sum on top of your medical expense, lost income and pain and suffering compensation.

For all of your auto accident legal needs, reach out to the experienced Oakland car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch. We have helped many people hurt in crashes, and here to help you get what you deserve and get back on your feet. To learn more about how we can help, contact us through our website or call our office at (925) 463-1073 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today.