Punitive Damages in Palm Beach County Distracted Driving Lawsuits
Although Florida rolled out a relatively weak version of a law designed to prevent cell phone use while driving, it is unlikely that the new law will lead to a large reduction in the amount of distracted drivers. However, the ramifications for distracted driving have been ratcheted up in other ways by personal injury attorneys throughout Florida in the form of punitive damages against distracted drivers.
Nature of Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are damages designed to punish an individual or organization for bad behavior. These are in contrast to compensatory damages, which are designed to compensate an individual for the harm done to them. Compensatory damages only address actual harm or expense suffered, such as medical expenses. Punitive damages are based on the individual or organization’s resources in order to punish them, deter them, and prevent future persons in their position from committing the same wrong. Because of these differences a punitive damages award can be several times larger than a compensatory damages award.
Trial courts throughout Florida, including courts in Palm Beach County, have begun awarding punitive damages against distracted drivers. This is good news for those who have been injured from drivers distracted by cell phones, as well as the public, because it sets a precedent that punishes those who dangerously drive while texting will not be tolerated.
How to Prove a Driver was Distracted by a Cell Phone
Proving that a driver was distracted by a cell phone can be achieved in several ways. First, if any witnesses saw the driver on the cell phone or looking down around the time of the accident, it could be helpful. Police reports may be include these witness statements. Additionally, if a lawsuit is filed the cell phone provider may be subpoenaed to provide all phone records, which will show whether texts or calls were sent at the time of the accident.
Contact a Palm Beach County Traffic Accident Attorney
The attorneys at the Law Offices of William E. Johnson have many years of experience handling traffic accident cases caused by distracted drivers. If you have been harmed in a Palm Beach County auto accident call 561-832-4848 to schedule a free consultation.