Impaired driving, distracted driving, and driving while talking or texting on a portable
electronic device carries legal repercussions whether or not it was the
cause of a
Poughkeepsie car accident. Not only do offending drivers face possible statutory violations that
carry fines and increases in points on licenses, but there is also exposure
to civil liability. These types of accidents are preventable and simply
cause needless harm, and because the risks of texting while driving are
quite clear to the prudent motorist, it is a strong argument to make in
court against the offending driver.
Motorists are under a duty to operate a motor vehicle with reasonable care
in a manner consistent with other reasonable and prudent motorists. A
breach of this duty that which caused another injury will give the victim
a cause of action founded in
negligence. Such an action will allow the victim a chance to convince a jury that
the offending driver must compensate the victim for his or her damages.
You may be thinking, how is “reasonable” defined, how is “prudent”
defined, and how will different “circumstances” affect liability.
Of course case law has helped define these terms and answers are typically
fact intensive. This is because these are usually decisions for a jury
to make as to what is reasonable and prudent; it is a flexible standard.
There are some statutes also help define the terms by simply precluding
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1225-c which states “no person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a public
highway while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call while such
vehicle is in motion . . . .” Also understand
Section 1225-d further requires “no person shall operate a motor vehicle while
using any portable electronic device which such vehicle is in motion .
. . .”
Taken together, these statutes prohibit talking on cell phones while operating
a vehicle and using any device through which texting or e-mailing messages
is conducted. Moreover, simply holding a cell phone in proximity to the
ear or mouth creates a rebuttable presumption that the statute was violated.
These laws do not create liability per se, but they do make it easier for
injured motorists to prove that a defendant-driver was negligent. Since
the presumption is rebuttable, a jury must be allowed to deliberate on
whether or not the device was actually in “use” at the time
of the accident if the defendant introduces evidence to prove that the
device was not in “use”. This also allows a judge to deny
the defendant’s motion for summary judgment or dismissal to keep
your case alive.
Remember that plaintiffs may recover compensation for medical bills, pain,
suffering, lost wages, lost earning potential, among other expenses related
to the accident and injury.
Are you interested in learning more about car accidents caused by impaired
drivers? Find out more in our
latest article to learn more about your rights here. Also, learn about increased distracted driving penalties as enhanced
by the New York State Legislature
in yesterday’s blog post here.
Our car accident attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O’Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious personal injury accidents,
particularly throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie,
and Newburgh where we have offices. Hear
what our clients are saying about us here and learn about just some of our
successful results here. If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident,
please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 845-340-HURT (4878) or
toll free at 866-440-4452, or by using the
convenient contact form here.