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Distracted Driving, Cellphones and Corporate Liability

by PhilBalbo on May 31, 2012

A recent string of serious and even fatal car accidents caused by the careless driving of employees behind the wheel of company cars and trucks while using their cellphones is shifting the nature of some personal injury lawsuits in Virginia. Experienced car accident law firms are increasingly going after the deep pockets of corporations whose employees are allowed to text, talk, and email while behind the wheel, with some judgments as high as $20 million.

Distracted driving lawsuits in Virginia are on the rise, and the National Safety Council estimates that nationwide about one-quarter of all crashes involve cellphones or texting — about 1.2 million accidents a year. Many of these accidents are the fault of those in company cars, vans, and trucks, utilizing their cellphones while making deliveries, heading to their next installation appointment, or hauling a load of supplies or equipment. Recent accidents include a lumber salesman who crippled a 78-year-old woman when he lost control of his car due to texting behind the wheel; an employee-driver of a toy company’s van who killed a college student, and a driver in a company car who didn’t react when traffic slowed, rear-ending a Honda in a chain-reaction crash that killed a 32-year-old woman. Although many corporations have moved to ban the use of cellphones by employees while driving company cars, many still refuse to do so.

A concern of many regarding distracted driving accidents is how, exactly, they will prove that another driver was on their cellphone. According to Dr. Paul Atchley, a distracted-driving expert witness from the University of Kansas, it is now possible to track the movement of cellphones in real time, in motion. This, in turn, makes it much easier for personal injury attorneys to establish that a driver was using their phone at the time of a car crash.

The loss of a loved one due to another driver’s distracted driving is a pain that may be difficult to bear. While legal action cannot undo the tragic events, it may help those suffering a loss to get back on their feet, and allow them to work towards being made whole again. For more information, please contact and experienced personal injury attorney in Virginia.

Written by Phil Balbo, staff writer with Price Benowitz LLP. Please contact our reckless driving lawyers for more information or to schedule a free consultation. You can also visit Hands Free Info for more information on cell phone and other distracted driving laws in Virginia.

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