Driving Under The Influence of Cellphone Technology | Driving & Texting


On January 11, 2010 the New York Times, in its “Technology” section, published some interesting, yet disturbing, statistics: 11% of drivers, at any one time, talk on their cell phones while driving (per a federal study); Drivers using cell phones cause 2600 deaths each year (per a Harvard study)*; 570,000 accidents causing minor and major injuries are the result of cell phone usage (Harvard study);

With the growing awareness by Americans of the hazards of cell phone usage in cars, the NYTimes also found (in a NYT/CBS NEWS poll) that 50% of Americans hold the view that texting and driving should be punished at least as harshly as drunk driving.

This attitude is fortified by published studies indicating that drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to have an accident than other drivers.   In fact, the likelihood that someone using a cell phone will crash has been shown to equal that of a driver with a .08 percent blood alcohol level, the level considered “impaired” in many, if not most, states.

While the dangers of cell phones usage, in ALL its forms, is well established (texting, hands free, hand held),

no state has banned the use of cell phones while driving entirely.  The most that has been restricted is the use of hand held devices.  Federal employees are not allowed to text while driving, pursuant to an executive order issued by President Obama.

For the Personal Injury Attorney, the issue of distracted or impaired driving while using a cell phone has become an entirely new area to be investigated in automobile accident cases.  This is also a new area for litigation and discovery.  There will, undoubtedly, be judges across the country that will be reluctant to permit opposing parties access to the cell phone records of their adversaries.  Nevertheless, as knowledge about the horrific hazards cell phone usage poses while driving becomes more widespread, our courts will hopefully expand dramatically their tolerance for the discovery of cell phone records.

Currently, any experienced Personal Injury attorney will make every effort to obtain cell phone records of an opposing party if there is the slightest indication that cell phone usage may have been a contributing cause of the accident involved.

*Transportation Secretary LaHood states the annual death toll from cell phone distraction amounts to 5,800


Why Personal Injury Cases Take So Long: Part IV – Discovery | NYC Personal Injury Attorney


Once a case begins, there is a “pipeline” of events through which the case must pass.   This pipeline is meant to insure that the case moves along as expeditiously as possible and that the parties to the lawsuit, and in particular their attorneys, take the necessary measures in a timely fashion so that the case will reach a conclusion within a somewhat reasonable time.  What “reasonable” consists of is undoubtedly measured differently by the client, and those used to working in the court system.

There are requirements for the submission of certain documents triggered by the initiation of the lawsuit.   After the service of the “Complaint” upon the Defendant, the Defendant must serve an “Answer” upon the Plaintiff.  The Answer virtually always contains a “Demand for a Bill of Particulars” from the  Plaintiff ..   The “Bill of Particulars”, provided to the Defendant by the Plaintiff, is then given in response to the Defendant’s Demand.  The Bill of Particulars sets forth answers to questions posed by the Defendant in the Defendant’s Demand, and usually covers many items, including the way the accident occurred and the specific injuries sustained by the Plaintiff as a result of the accident.

This “pipeline” also consists of certain required conferences where the attorneys set dates for the exchange of information between the parties, and set the dates for depositions, (commonly known as Examinations Before Trial) of the parties–opportunities for all parties to question each other about the facts of the case.   The information to be exchanged consists of such items as medical records, repair and maintenance records, employment information, school records and other items that may bear directly on the issues being raised in the particular case.

There is a target date set for when ALL discovery must be completed–often a year or more in advance of the first conference depending on the county where the case is brought–which is influenced by the case load in that court.  At that point a Note of  Issue must be filed, which places the case on the trial calendar of the court.   Your case is then “on line” waiting for a trial.  Again, depending on the county, this wait can be anywhere from several months to more than a year–depending on how crowded the trial calendar is in that county !

Delays often occur when one party or the other, for a variety of reasons, fails to provide the demanded information to the opposing party.  In that event the recourse is for the party seeking the information to make a “motion” in court asking the court to intercede and force the recalcitrant party to produce the information sought.  The aim is to attempt to complete all “Discovery” by the time set by the court for filing the “Note of Issue”. Contact one of our New York Personal Injury Attorneys today.