A man who was texting while driving will pay $500,000 to a couple for causing an accident that resulted in them each losing a leg.
The married couple was riding on a motorcycle in a mid-Atlantic state near Maryland in September of 2009 when a driver, then 19, left his lane and crossed into the motorcycle’s lane, striking it and injuring the woman and her husband. Officials said his distraction essentially caused the crash.
Prosecutors did not pursue charges against the man in the accident. He pleaded guilty to driving while using a hand-held cellphone and was assigned to speak to students in more than a dozen schools about the dangers of using a phone while driving.
This incident might not be finished yet in court, however. The attorney representing the couple said he will appeal a judge’s verdict regarding a young woman who sent the text message that distracted the driver. The judge ruled that she was not liable in the accident.
The settlement money will assist the victims in this case, who have since moved south. They need the funds because the husband cannot work and the wife has not yet resumed work, their attorney said.
The couple’s attorney added they are compassionate toward the young man, who had just left work at the time of the accident, and hold no bad feelings for him.
Their compassion is remarkable considering the pain and suffering they each endured following the loss of a leg. It is hoped that the driver can repay their kindness by touching other lives when he speaks to high school students. His message about the dangers of using a cellphone to text or talk while driving could go a long way toward discouraging other teens from doing so.
Source: Daily Record, Peggy Wright, Aug. 22, 2012