Articles Tagged with “driving under the influence”

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On May 2, 2013, the State of Florida approved a bill named the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”. The new law, which is to come into effect on October 1, 2013, will ban all drivers from texting and driving. We have previously reported on the new bill earlier this year in our post titled: “Florida on its way to ban texting-while-driving? How a worthless piece of legislation will keep roads unsafe

In the better part of the last decade, the legislator has failed to come to an agreement on a law that would ban texting while driving and pass a law to finally deter and reduce the number of distracted drivers who travel through the populous and dangerous roads of Florida. Today, very little can derail this bill to become law. It only awaits a signature by Florida Governor Rick Scott, which should officially occur in the next few weeks.

texting while driving02.jpgAs discussed in our previously-mentioned post, informed proponents of a ban on texting while driving have openly criticized the future law in that it does not go far enough. The main point of criticism is that the Florida legislature has voted to make any violation of the texting ban a secondary offense, or a toothless bite.

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Texting and driving has been and continues to be one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents in the State of Florida. Easily explaining the reasons for the situation is the ever standstill of the Florida legislator on this issue. For several years Ira Leesfield and the personal injury lawyers at Leesfield Scolaro have argued in favor of, and pushed legislators to pass a ban on texting while driving. Last week, despite a House and Senate either ignoring the reality of distracted driving, or incapable of coming to a sensible piece of legislation, a Broward County Judge allowed punitive damages in a civil negligence lawsuit for the first time in the State of Florida.

cell-phone-car.jpgWe have reported multiple times in the Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg the calamitous reality in Florida. As explained in our recent post “Florida still refuses to ban texting while driving“, Florida remains one of only six states without any limitations on cell phone use while driving. Every other State has either a total ban or a partial ban on texting and driving.

Over the years, Ira Leesfield has been a spokesperson for greater safety and common sense in the law. His experience fighting for the rights of innocent victims injured by the negligence of others has flourished in the passage of many important laws during his career as a personal injury attorney in Miami, Key West, throughout the State of Florida and the rest of the nation.

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Under Florida law, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven. Florida Statute 316.193.

Living and working in Fort Lauderdale as a handyman, 22-year-old Dwight Grant’s life was changed forever when he became a DUI victim. Mr. Grant was sitting in the back seat of his friend’s car, stopped on the road, waiting for a raised drawbridge. A couple of blocks behind him, Matthew Lyons was driving his car uncontrollably and at a very high rate of speed. When Mr. Lyons made a left turn and faced the stopped traffic, it was too late for him to avoid the horrific rear-end car accident that ensued. The investigation revealed that Mr. Lyons was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, with a blood alcohol level of .21, almost triple the legal limit.

As a result of this rear-end car accident, Dwight Grant sustained skull fractures, frontal lobe brain damage and facial fractures. He had corrective surgery to repair the fractures and was discharged after two weeks in intensive care. Following his release from the hospital, Mr. Grant developed a seizure disorder that is not controlled by medication. He is unable to resume work due to his uncontrolled seizures.

DUI Victim Attorney, Thomas Scolaro, of Leesfield Scolaro filed a civil lawsuit against Matthew Lyons for his negligent driving. The defendant alleged that although he was intoxicated, Mr. Grant’s seizures could have been better controlled in the future had he been more compliant with taking his anti-seizure medications and had he been more compliant returning for follow-up medical appointments. What the defendant failed to realize was that Mr. Grant did not always take his medication because his frontal lobe brain damage caused him to be very forgetful. Experts at trial testified that the degree of brain damage and the location of the damage in the frontal lobe controlled his decision making processes and affected his short-term memory.

After a five-day trial, the jury panel of 3 men, and 3 women jury panel found that the defendant was negligent. The jury found that Mr. Grant was unable to return to work in any capacity and awarded Mr. Grant $2.7 million for past and future lost wages, $6.7 million for past and future medical care, and $6 million for past and future pain and suffering.

The case, entitled Dwight Grant v. Matthew Lyons, Lower Tribunal Case No, 07-015561 (03) was tried before Judge Mily Rodriguez-Powell in Broward County, Florida.
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