Always remember, whatever life throws at us, it’s important that you work to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Below, you will find some of the latest information about End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org), how you can save lives, and the latest in distracted driving litigation. I hope you enjoy our first newsletter.
Distracted Driving Lawyer, Joel Feldman, Anapol Weiss
Save Teen Lives and Become the Distracted Driving Lawyer in Your Community
Like many of you, I have represented far too many families whose loved ones have been killed or seriously injured by distracted drivers. Those families need our help as lawyers, but shouldn’t we be working to prevent distracted driving crashes from occurring in the first place?
My daughter Casey was killed by a distracted driver in 2009. I knew after her death that I needed to work to prevent other young people from being killed in these senseless and all-too-common crashes. I reached out to other trial lawyers for help, and within two weeks more than 250 volunteered to give presentations to students through our EndDD.org program.
Fast forward to today, and we have spoken with more than 400,000 students across the country, all without cost to the schools. While we are very proud of that accomplishment, there are still many students who need to hear an EndDD.org presentation given by a committed and caring trial lawyer.
We Need Your Help
“I feel like a hypocrite giving the talk because I drive distracted.”
This is the most frequent reason given by trial lawyers for not doing talks that will save teen lives. If you drive distracted, you are a lot like the rest of us. That is no reason not to give a presentation. As a matter of fact, all of our speakers get up and tell teens how they have driven distracted. Feedback from teens clearly shows that by admitting what we have done, we signal to them that this is a different presentation than they are used to, that we are not here to blame them, but rather, we are all in this together. And most of our speakers report becoming safer drivers as a result of doing talks.
If you have not yet done a presentation, it’s a great time to get started.
If you have done presentations in the past, it is never too early to reach out to schools to set up talks.
What’s the best way to set up talks? If you have a contact in a local school, go through that contact. Otherwise, reaching out to Phys Ed/Health teachers to come in and speak to classes or school counselors and assistant principals to schedule assemblies is most likely to get results. All of the information you need—sample letters to schools to set up talks, reference letters about the value of EndDD.org talks, access to the power points for PC or MAC, and a training video can be found at www.enddd.org/trial-lawyer-campaign/.
Distracted Driving Litigation Update:
Adding a Count for Punitive Damages Can Drive Up the Value of Settlements
When representing clients injured through distracted driving, adding a count for punitive damages can help increase the amount of settlements. A recent decision from a trial court in Pennsylvania striking a count for punitive damages in a case where the defendant driver was texting is very instructive. The court held that the mere fact that a driver was texting was not sufficient and struck the punitive damages claim.
So what must we plead to keep the threat of punitive damages over the defendant? When a driver texts, that driver has consciously chosen to look away from the road. Looking away from the road, traveling 60 mph seems more reckless than doing so at 25 mph. Pleading that a driver traveling 60 mph goes about 90 feet per second and that it takes about 4-6 seconds to text begins to tell a story of recklessness. In those 4-6 seconds, the defendant traveled about 500 feet, all without looking at the road. Some have suggested that we need to also educate judges about the dangers of texting. That education can be factual, but also cultural. Texting while driving increases crash risk by anywhere from 4x to as much as 8x, and 96.8% of us view texting or emailing as a serious threat to our safety. In some states, criminal penalties for texting while driving do include a presumption that texting is reckless.
Having a trial judge sustain your count for punitive damages will make defense counsel and the insurance carrier look at your case differently and may help drive a larger settlement for your client.
Anapol Weiss prides itself on working closely with firms across Pennsylvania and throughout the nations on referrals. Client care and consistent communication with the referring law firm are always a top priority. We have worked with other attorneys to secure millions in verdicts and settlements. Anapol Weiss welcomes your referrals.