I’ll end the week off by discussing a recent case my office handled as a Los Angeles car accident and personal injury lawyer. It’s a story of a careless driver who was paying more attention to her phone than her car or surroundings.
My client, who we’ll call Avi (not his real name), offers after-school tutoring services to local area students. Avi had just completed a tutoring session at a student’s home, and he began walking to his car parked nearby. Avi began crossing the street at the marked crosswalk, pictured above.
Avi had nearly completed crossing the crosswalk, when he felt a sudden, sharp pain in his lower right leg and right arm. He also felt a hard impact, and he suddenly became confused, realizing that he was leaning awkwardly on the hood of a Lexus sedan.
It took Avi a few seconds to realize that he had just been hit by a car. The Lexus had not stopped at the limit line at the beginning of the intersection, but instead moved far past the limit line and collided into him. Glancing into the car in his confused state, he could see the driver holding her cell phone in her hand, with her head tilted downwards, as if she had just been caught reading a text message or email.
Avi managed to painfully pull himself off the hood, and asked the driver why she hadn’t stopped at the stop sign. The driver dismissively told Avi “you look fine to me”, and with that tried leaving the scene without exchanging information. Only when a witness came forward and offered to assist Avi did the driver provide her insurance information.
Police arrived at the scene, and the officer determined that the driver was at fault for this collision. In particular, the driver violated Vehicle Code Section 21950, which says that pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks. The driver was also in violation of Section 22450, which says that cars must stop at the limit line delineating the beginning of an intersection.
To answer Avi’s question, why didn’t the driver stop at the limit line? Because she was texting, scrolling on her phone, reading her email, or otherwise paying more attention to her handheld device than her driving.
We all hear stories of distracted drivers causing harm to others, but here is a real-life example of a distracted driver badly injuring someone because she couldn’t put down her phone. Had she been traveling any faster, Avi’s injuries would have been much worse.
Avi got the medical treatment he needed, and received fair compensation for his injuries and pain and suffering. You can bet we made the texting driver pay dearly for her mistake.
The next time you approach an intersection, remember that there may be a pedestrian crossing who you don’t immediately see. Stop at the limit line, and give that pedestrian enough room to cross. And if you receive a text message or email alert, remember Avi’s case.
Keep your phone away from your hands–it’s the law, and it could safe a life.
Take these words from the Rabbi Lawyer: That email won’t magically disappear from your inbox. Your best friend’s updated Instagram post will still be there when you park your car. The text message will be waiting for you when you arrive and turn off your car.