A Florida woman who was severely injured in a 2010 accident caused by a man who was texting and driving has won a $4.3 million verdict. The final judgment hasn't been signed by the judge yet, but a verdict was handed down Aug. 5 in Flagler County Circuit Court awarding damages to 26-year-old Cacilia Carter. Additionally, the verdict was not reached by a jury but by Circuit Judge Dennis Craig.
Carter was a passenger in a vehicle driven by then-boyfriend, Joseph E. O'Guin, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The accident occurred the afternoon of December 20, 2010 when the distracted driver ran a stop sign, entered a highway, and struck a tractor-trailer rig.
Troopers said the vehicle O'Guin was driving ran a stop sign and skidded into the truck's path. The driver of the tractor-trailer suffered minor injuries while Carter suffered incapacitating injuries as a result of the crash. Carter remained comatose for three weeks following the incident, and continues to undergo physical therapy. However, the injuries to her right foot and ankle were so severe she still requires a wheelchair.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. Nevertheless, distracted driving is becoming more and more prevalent as smart phone technology continues to evolve. Given the statistics regarding the dangers of distracted driving, one has to wonder when the law is going to catch up with technology. Driving while intoxicated is a serious criminal offense. When is texting while driving going to be a serious criminal offense?
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another, contact board-certified attorney, Brant J. Stogner, at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584.