Posts tagged with "Westport"

Personal Injury Claim: Mother to Receive $7M for Child’s Injury

Mother to Receive $7 Million for Daughter’s Catastrophic Injuries

The parties in a personal injury case involving an unfortunate accident that caused traumatic brain injuries to an infant girl in New York have entered a settlement agreement just days before returning to the courtroom. Kenietra Grant is the plaintiff on behalf of her daughter, who was only two years old when her cranium was fractured in a 2008 motor vehicle accident. Ms. Grant will receive a settlement award in the amount of $7 million.

The Accident

The accident occurred on May 11, 2008. Ms. Grant and her daughter were traveling in a car driven by Sharnique Reynolds, who stopped the vehicle on the side of the road near the town of Tuxedo in Orange County, NY. According to counrt records from the Third Judicial Appellate Division, Ms. Reynolds decided to pull over after feeling overcome with drowsiness. Ms. Grants’ daughter was in the rear passenger seat when a car traveling at 65 mph struck Ms. Reynolds’ vehicle.

The driver of the striking vehicle, Estevan Nembhard, is a labor activist and organizer for Service Employees International Union. Mr. Nembhard was reportedly on his way back home from a meeting in Connecticut, where he met with future members of the labor union. The accident took place around 4:00 a.m. EST, and Ms. Grants’ daughter suffered traumatic brain injuries.

The Case

As the plaintiff on behalf of her daughter, Ms. Grant faced several challenges during her quest for relief. The case turned intricate with multiple defendants, various insurance companies, numerous motions and several cross claims. These are typical factors faced by catastrophic injury lawyers who represent the best interest of their clients in ruinous accidents such as the one suffered by Ms. Grants’ daughter.

Counsel for Mr. Nembhard’s employer has stated that the organizer was not performing the union’s work at the time of the accident. The union, however, has agreed to settle the case along with the insurers of the two vehicles involved in the collision.

By LaurenL, settlementboard.com

At Maya Murphy, P.C., our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to achieving the best results for individuals and their families and loved ones whose daily lives have been disrupted by injury.  Our personal injury attorneys assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and throughout Fairfield County. If you have any questions relating to a personal injury claim or an automobile accident claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our Westport office by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com to get in touch with our Managing Partner, Joseph Maya.

Connecticut Appellate Court finds that Misappropriated Funds should not be part of Probate Estate

Connecticut Appellate Court finds that Misappropriated Funds should not be part of Probate Estate
Przekopski v. Przekop, 124 Conn. App. 238, 4 A. 3d 844 (2010)

The defendants, a sister, individually and as the executrix of her father’s estate, appealed from the judgment of the Superior Court, which upon a de novo appeal of a Probate Court order, denied a motion for rectification or for a corrected judgment, and ordered that the bank accounts misappropriated by the plaintiff brother be returned to the father’s estate for distribution.

The Appellate Court concluded that the Probate Court ordered the proper remedy and that it was improper for the Superior Court to order the transfer of the misappropriated funds from the plaintiff to the estate, instead of directly to the defendant, individually. The decedent used the survivorship accounts as a method of estate planning and he intended for the accounts to pass immediately to the defendant, individually, upon his death and not to be the subject of probate.

The Appellate Court recognized the decedent’s intent and wanted to ensure that the plaintiff did not profit from his abuse of the power of attorney that he utilized to substitute his name for the defendant’s individual name on certain bank accounts containing the funds.  The plaintiff did not engage in fair dealing in transferring certain bank accounts to himself under the power of attorney and abused his position of trust. The power of attorney did not authorize the plaintiff to change the name of the survivor on the accounts.

Because the plaintiff was a beneficiary under his father’s will and stood to inherit some of the funds if they were distributed pursuant to the will, it was error for the Superior Court to order the return of the funds to the estate.  The Appellate Court reversed the judgment only as to the order that the plaintiff transfer to the decedent’s estate all of the misappropriated funds.  The case was remanded with direction to order those funds, with the exception of the sum of $ 11,000, returned to the defendant, individually.

Should you have any questions relating to wills, trusts, estates or probate issues generally, please feel free to contact Joseph Maya at Maya Murphy, P.C. today at (203) 221-3100 or by email at JMaya@Mayalaw.com, to schedule a free initial consultation.

Toxicology Report Suppressed in DUI Case Because Warrantless Search Exceptions Did Not Apply

In this criminal law matter, a Superior Court of Connecticut granted a defendant’s motion to suppress evidence, because the State did not show exigent circumstances allowing the warrantless seizure.

This case arose from an incident that occurred on August 15, 2003. The defendant was involved in an automobile accident, resulting in the death of the other driver. He was transported to a nearby hospital where, without a warrant, police requested that his blood be drawn. One of the officers unaware of this order was informed of that the blood had been drawn, so he elected to not perform the field sobriety and chemical alcohol tests. Five days later, police applied for and was granted a warrant for the blood toxicology report. The defendant was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (OMVUI), in violation of Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) § 14-227a(a), and second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, among several other counts. On March 8, 2004, the defendant submitted a motion to suppress the toxicology report, arguing that they were obtained in violation of the search and seizure protections of the state and federal constitutions.

Under state and federal law, individuals are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, houses, papers, and effects. The “[c]ompulsory administration of a blood test” clearly constitutes a search and seizure of one’s person. If a search is conducted without a warrant evidencing probable cause, it is per se unreasonable, and evidence derived from this illegal search will be excluded unless one of a “few specifically established and well-delineated exceptions” applies. Two such exceptions to the exclusionary rule are inevitable discovery and exigent circumstances.

The inevitable discovery exception will thwart suppression of evidence if the State can show, by the preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), that through lawful means the evidence would have been discovered anyway. Officers must have been actively pursuing such means before the constitutional violation in question occurred. In this case, the State argued that this exception applied because had the officer not been told the blood was drawn, he would have proceeded with the various OMVUI-related tests. Therefore, the State would have inevitably discovered the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC). However, the Superior Court was not persuaded, because the State assumed that the defendant would have consented to the alcohol chemical tests. Under CGS § 14-227b, a person is free to refuse the test, though he will face license suspension for doing so. As such, the police could not presume that this procedure would inevitably lead them to discovery of the defendant’s BAC level.

Exigent circumstances doctrine applies where police officers, who have requisite probable cause, do not have time to get a warrant. They must act swiftly to effectuate an arrest, search, or seizure, to avoid, for example, the destruction of evidence. The State bears the burden to point to specific and articulable facts that gave rise to the exigent circumstances. In this case, the State argued that if they did not order that the defendant’s blood be taken, they would have lost evidence of his BAC level. However, the Superior Court noted that the record was devoid of any facts to support this proposition. Therefore, because neither exception applied to the facts of this case, the Superior Court granted the defendant’s motion to suppress.

Written by Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.

When faced with a charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (a.k.a. driving under the influence) or license suspension, an individual is best served by consulting with an experienced criminal law practitioner. Should you have any questions regarding criminal defense, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Wife Found in Contempt of Court’s “Automatic Orders”

In a relatively recent decision rendered in a dissolution of marriage action, a wife was found in contempt for depriving her husband of information regarding the parties’ two minor children in violation of the court’s “automatic orders.”  In this particular case, the parties were married 1991, and were the parents of two children.  At the time of trial the husband was forty-three years old and in generally good health.  He had an associate’s degree and worked for a supply company earning approximately $51,000 annually.  The wife was also forty-three years old and in generally good health.  Although she stayed home to care for the family for a better part of the marriage, in 1999 she began working as an independent contractor selling kitchen products.  Later, she worked for a local board of education, and at the time of trial, was employed with a local newspaper earning roughly $20,000, plus commission, annually.

During the divorce proceedings, the husband filed a motion for contempt claiming the wife violated the court’s automatic orders in that she left the marital residence with the children and refused to disclose their location.  In reviewing the merits of the husband’s motion, the court noted that in a civil contempt proceeding, the movant must show by a preponderance of the evidence the existence of a clear and unambiguous court order, and willful noncompliance with that order.  According to the court’s “automatic orders,” entered upon the commencement of every divorce action, neither party is permitted to remove children from the State of Connecticut without prior written consent of the other parent.  Additionally, a party vacating the marital residence with minor children must notify the other parent of the move, and must provide the other parent of an address where the relocated party can be contacted.  Finally, where parents live separate and apart during a divorce proceeding, pursuant to the “automatic orders,” they must assist their children in having contact with both parents.

In this particular case, the court found that because the wife was served in hand with a notice of automatic orders, she clearly knew she had an obligation to inform the husband in writing of any relocation.  The court found that she also knew she had a duty to assist her children in having contact with their father.  Nevertheless, the wife willfully removed the children from the home, and kept their address from the husband absent a valid reason for doing so.  As a result, the husband did not know where the children were living until the day of trial.  The court further found that the wife willfully kept the children from having contact with their father in violation of the court’s clear and unambiguous automatic orders.

Should you have any questions regarding automatic court orders, or divorce proceedings in general, please feel free to contact Attorney Michael D. DeMeola, Esq.  He can be reached in the firm’s Westport office at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at mdemeola@mayalaw.com.
________________________________________________________________________________
Our firm in Westport serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of: Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newton, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to an attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation. Divorce is difficult, education is power. Call today.

Keywords: divorce lawyer, divorce, lawyer, attorney, law firm, law office, legal advice, bankruptcy, CT divorce attorney, domestic violence rights, Connecticut, Connecticut divorce lawyers, marital property rights, CT divorce mediation, legal separation Connecticut, child custody laws, child support litigation, contested, uncontested, annulments, alimony, mediator, spouse, spousal support law, asset division, visitation right, premarital agreements, prenup, prenuptial agreement, prenup NY, restraining orders, appeals, custody modifications, legal separation CT, prenup CT, custody CT, filing divorce, filing, new, new haven, lawyers, attorneys, family law, family, Connecticut divorce attorney, divorce law, matrimonial law, custody, child custody CT, property division, dissolution of marriage, marriage, divorce NY, New York divorce, best divorce lawyer, visitation, visitation rights, post marital agreements, divorce law firm

Am I Allowed Access to My Child’s School Records in Connecticut?

Although the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act serves to protect the privacy of student educational records, it also requires school districts and schools to give parents and students access to the student’s records and an opportunity to seek to have records amended if they believe the records need correcting.  Further, schools must annually notify parents and eligible students of their rights under this act.

If you have any questions related to education law in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

$49,500 Settlement against Distracted Driver

A contractor from Bethlehem, Connecticut received $49,500 in a civil settlement for injuries sustained in an auto collision when his truck was rear-ended by a distracted driver.

The plaintiff was rear-ended while stopped on a road in Westport, Connecticut. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff suffered an aggravation of cervical spondylosis and required physical therapy and cervical injection therapy.  While no neck surgery was performed, medical examination reported the plaintiff was left with an impairment of the cervical spine, a condition that was contested by the insurance carrier for the defendant.

The defendant was a young professional from Trumbull Connecticut.  After the collision, an open laptop computer was found on the defendant’s front passenger seat in the automobile.  The defendant admitted negligence, admitting to both taking his eyes off the roadway as well as rear-ending the plaintiff at an impact speed of 25-30 miles per hour.

The lawsuit was settled for $49,500 before trial after discovery was complete and a medical examination was performed.

At Maya Murphy, P.C., our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to achieving the best results for individuals and their families and loved ones whose daily lives have been disrupted by injury.  Our personal injury attorneys assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and throughout Fairfield County. If you have any questions relating to an automobile accident or a personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our Westport office by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com 

Connecticut Now Requires Insurers to Prove Prejudice from Late Notice of Claim

Most insurance policies require the insured to give the carrier notice of a claim “as soon as practical,” or words to that effect. For the past 24 years, in order to avoid denial of their claims, Connecticut has required policyholders to demonstrate that their insurance company was not prejudiced on the ground of late notice.  The Connecticut Supreme Court recently reversed itself to the extent prior law allocated to the insured the burden of disproving prejudice.  In so doing, Connecticut joins the vast majority of states that require carriers to prove prejudice as a result of late notice of claims in order to deny coverage on that ground.

Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. King, 304 Conn. 179 (2012) arose from an insured’s son towing a friend on a skateboard behind an all-terrain vehicle.  The friend fell and was severely injured.  The respective families continued to socialize and there was no mention of the commencement of litigation as a result of the incident.  Nearly a year later, the insured got a not-so-friendly letter from the attorney representing the friend’s family informing them of a potential lawsuit.  Then, and only then, did the insured’s family report the incident to their insurance company.  The insurance company declined coverage, in part, on the basis of an untimely claim.  Under preexisting law, in order to obtain coverage, the insured would have to prove that the carrier was not prejudiced by the delay.

The Connecticut Supreme Court used Arrowood as an opportunity to overrule its 1988 decision that allocated to the insured the burden of disproving prejudice to the insurance company.  The Court had earlier opined that a strict litmus test of delayed notice (without regard to actual prejudice) would likely result in the forfeiture of insurance coverage. Now, post-Arrowood, the burden of proving prejudice from delay is on the insurer.  As a practical matter, it is the insurer that is best able to assess and prove any prejudicial effect of delay on its investigation of a claim or the mounting of a legal defense.  The result should be better-informed trial court decisions on the existence or extent of prejudice to carriers from delayed notice.  Connecticut policyholders are better off as a result as they are more likely to be able to access the insurance coverage for which they have over years paid premiums.

The commercial litigation attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of insurance-related disputes and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, and Fairfield in resolving such issues. Please contact our Westport office by phone at (203) 221-3100

Couple Injured by Out-of-Control Dump Truck Wins $10 Million

A couple injured in a multi-car wreck caused by an out-of-control dump truck won a jury award of more than $10 million.

Theodus Williams was driving a 1979 Mack dump truck for Valvano Construction Inc. when he lost control of the truck that was loaded with stone. He hit a line of cars on a city street causing a chain reaction.

One of those cars then hit Robert and Holly Ann Kuchwara’s car and sent the couple’s Toyota SUV into a utility pole, fracturing Holly Ann’s vertebrae, shattering her ankle, and leaving her with head trauma.

The couple sued the construction company and its driver and claimed the dump truck was unsafe for driving.

Their lawyer, Joseph Quinn, had evidence of police charges against the company and the driver for 12 violations each. According to those charges, the truck had faulty brakes and steering problems, and Williams was driving with an expired medical certificate.

The jury gave the couple $9.1 million to compensate for their injuries and an extra $1 million to punish the company and driver.

“Obviously we’re thrilled with the verdict after a case in which there was no offer of settlement,” said Quinn. “The jury accepted the finding of the state police that the truck should never have been on the road.”

At Maya Murphy, P.C., our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to achieving the best results for individuals and their families and loved ones whose daily lives have been disrupted by injury.  Our personal injury attorneys assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and throughout Fairfield County. If you have any questions relating to an automobile accident claim or personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our Westport office by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com

$130,000 Settlement for Personal Injuries From Car Accident

A Naugatuck woman secured a $130,000 settlement stemming from an accident where she was rear-ended on Interstate 91 in Windsor, Connecticut by another motorist.

The plaintiff was a twenty-five-year-old makeup artist and retail saleswoman. As a result of the accident her neck, lower back, and knee were injured, requiring medical treatment. The plaintiff received medical treatment from a chiropractic physician for her cervical spine and lower back. The chiropractic physician assigned the plaintiff a five percent impairment of the cervical spine and a five percent impairment of her lumbar spine pursuant to the 5th Edition of the AMA Guide.  An orthopedic surgeon examined her knee injury who recommended exploratory arthroscopic surgery to repair a suspected meniscus tear.

The plaintiff’s Audi had substantial rear-end crash damage from the accident. The automobile liability policy on the vehicle operated by the defendant had a minimum $20,000.00 policy. The policy was paid in full by the owner’s liability carrier. The defendant operator also carried a $20,000.00 automobile policy on his own private automobile, which was also exhausted

The plaintiff’s own under-insured motorist carrier then paid $90,000.00 of under-insured motorist benefits to the plaintiff after the full limits of automobile liability coverage were exhausted against both liability policies covering the defendant operator and owner.

At Maya Murphy, P.C., our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to achieving the best results for individuals and their families and loved ones whose daily lives have been disrupted by injury.  Our personal injury attorneys assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and throughout Fairfield County. If you have any questions relating to a personal injury claim or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our Westport office by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com

Keywords: rear-ended, Injury, personal injury, claim, personal injury claim, personal injury claims, personal injury claim attorney, injury attorneys, personal injury attorney, personal injury attorneys, injury attorney, personal injury lawsuit, personal injury lawyer, personal injury lawyers, injury lawyer, accident injury attorney, personal injury law firm, law firm, personal injury law, legal advice, legal office, Maya Murphy, www.Mayalaw.com, New York personal injury attorney, Connecticut personal injury attorney, Connecticut injury attorney, Westport personal injury attorney, Fairfield personal injury attorney, Fairfield personal injury lawyer, Westport personal injury lawyer, personal injury attorney in, tort lawyer, tort attorney, tort lawyer Fairfield county, find an attorney, how to find an attorney, work injury attorney, injury settlement, personal injury settlement, personal injury settlements, tort settlements, lawyers, lawyer, attorney, attorneys, attorneys in ct, New York, New York City, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, Weston, Fairfield County, mesothelioma, mesothelioma lawyer, asbestos, asbestos lawyer, lung cancer, lung cancer attorney, accident lawsuit, accident lawyers, accident attorney, accident injury lawyer, airplane crash attorney, Airplane injury lawyer, amputation lawyer, arm amputation lawyer, Auto Accident Death, auto accident injury attorney, accident injury attorney, auto accident injury lawyer, auto accident injury lawyers, auto accident settlement, car accident settlement attorney, auto crash attorney, auto crash lawyer, auto crash lawyers, auto injury lawyer, auto wreck attorney, automobile accident death, automobile accident lawyer, automobile accident lawyers, aviation attorney, aviation lawyer, back injury lawyer, best car accident lawyer, best car accident lawyers, bicycle accident lawyer, big rig accident lawyer, big rig truck accident, boat accident lawyer, boat accidents, brain injury lawyers, brain damage lawsuit, brain damage lawyer, brain damage lawyers, car accident, car accident claim, car accident death, car accident help, car accident injury lawyer, car accident injury lawyers, car accidents lawyer, car collision lawyer, car collision lawyers, car crash death, Car Crash Injury, car crash injury lawyer, car crash lawyer, car crash lawyers, car wreck lawyer, car wreck lawyers, child birth death, class action, compensatory damages, construction accident lawyer, construction accidents lawyer, comparative fault, comparative negligence, countersuit, death by car accident, death by motorcycle accident, dog bite lawyer, animal bite attorney, DUI, DWI, DUI lawyer, dui attorney, drunk driving, drunk driving accident, drunk driving attorney, defective products lawyer, product liability attorney, products liability lawyer, distracted driver, distracted driving accident, driving laws, mobile phones, cell phones, cell phone accidents, text messaging, texting, texting accident, elder abuse attorney, elder abuse lawyer, failure to warn, future medical costs, fatal accident, fatal auto accident, fatal car accident, fatal car accident lawyer, fatal forklift accident, fatal injury lawyer, fatal truck accident, head injury lawyer, helicopter crash lawyer, hit and run, hit and run accident, hit and run accident attorney, highway accident lawyer, highway accidents, jury award, jury verdict, missed diagnosis, medical malpractice attorneys, hospital injury, hospital incompetence, hospital error, hospital negligence, jury award, medical malpractice lawyers, malpractice attorney, hospital injury attorney, medical malpractice lawsuit, medical error, medical malpractice case, medical devices, medical injury lawyer, medical injury attorney, motor vehicle accident, motor vehicle accident lawyer, motor vehicle accident attorneys, negligence lawyer, negligent injury attorney,  lawyer for car accident, lawyers for car accident, pedestrian injuries, personal injury help, Personal Injury Law, premise liability attorney, premise liability lawyer, plane crash lawyer, punitive damages, rig truck accident lawyer, renter attorney, landlord attorney, road traffic accidents, traffic violation, traffic accident attorney, rollover accident, RV accident, RV injury lawyer, slip and fall, slip and fall accident, slip and fall lawyer, slip and fall attorneys, slip-and-fall, slip-and-fall attorney, school bus accident, serious car injury lawyer, truck accident, truck crash lawyer, truck wreck lawyer, trucking accident lawyer, trucking accident lawyers, trucking accidents lawyer, vehicle rollover, whiplash neck injuries, whiplash settlement, Wrongful Death attorney, Wrongful Death attorneys, Wrongful Death Claim, wrongful death complaint, vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter

1.3 million crashes per year caused by calls or texting

Safety First

Distracted driving laws are becoming more and more widespread and for good reason. According to the National Safety Council, 23 percent of car crashes, or 1.3 million per year, are caused by phone calls or texting. Phone use was involved in 3,092 highway deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates.

“No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life,” NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said in a press release last week. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving.”

Many states already have laws in place against certain cell phone uses behind the wheel, and more are expected to follow the NTSB recommendation. How can you avoid a ticket for improper cell phone use? Easy. Know your state and local laws, and follow them. If you have to make a call, find a safe place to pull over, or let a passenger handle the phone.

Know Before You Go

In the last five years, laws against distracted driving have proliferated around the country.

  • Nine states as well as Washington, D.C. ban handheld cellphone use while driving.
  • Twenty-six states ban only text messaging while driving.
  • No states have total bans on hands-free calls, although many do have special restrictions for school bus drivers and inexperienced drivers.
  • Thirty states plus D.C. ban phone use outright for inexperienced drivers (definition of inexperienced varies by state.)

Local ordinances may be more restrictive than state laws. Please see the Governors Highway Safety Association site for detailed information about your state.

The Most Expensive Text Message You’ll Ever Send

While in most states distracted driving laws are primary offenses, meaning police can pull you over for phone use alone, officers will often look for people whose driving is clearly affected. “A lot of times what’s going on is erratic operation,” says Boston attorney Jason Chan. “Weaving, crossing lines, blowing stop signs, situations where a person is about to hit another car and stops short.”

Young drivers especially need to be careful because they are singled out in so many laws. “Anybody who is young they’ll typically look at,” Chan explains. “They’ll run the plates to see who it’s registered to. If the car owner is female and the driver looks like a young male, it could be mom’s car or something of that nature.”

Penalties vary greatly by state:

  • In California, fines plus penalties for violating cell phone laws are $76 for first offense, $190 for all subsequent offenses.
  • Massachusetts fines escalate from $100 to $500.
  • Some states dock points off your license, which can lead to more expensive insurance bills and eventual license suspension, while others assess a fine only.

Handsfreeinfo.com has a detailed list of various fines and penalties by state.

How To Fight a Ticket

If you do get pulled over, remain calm. “Be polite as possible—officers do tend to write those things down,” Chan says. “Be careful of the statement you make. Obviously, anything you say can be used against you in court.”

If an officer witnesses a driver manipulating a phone, a defendant in a state banning handheld use may be out of luck. “It’s usually pretty difficult to fight,” says Chan. “A lot of his word against yours.”

However, in states that only ban texting, drivers might argue they were dialing, not sending a text. “It doesn’t look that good in court anyway, looking at the phone to dial,” Chan says. “But it can be a good argument to make.”

Documents from the phone carrier can show if a person was talking on the phone or texting. “We’ve been seeing a lot of people bringing in their cell phone records,” the lawyer says. “They would show if they were actually on the phone.”

Driving Laws by State

For the purposes of the charts, laws are interpreted in the most conservative manner— states that have blanket texting bans that include but don’t necessarily single out younger drivers are considered restricted in the “inexperienced driver” map. Hawaii does not actually have a state law regarding phone use but every county in the state bans distracted driving, which includes handheld use and texting for youth and adults. Please see the Governors Highway Safety Association site for detailed information about your state.

By: Aaron Kase

At Maya Murphy, P.C., our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to achieving the best results for individuals and their families and loved ones whose daily lives have been disrupted by injury.  Our personal injury attorneys assist clients in New York, Bridgeport, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and throughout Fairfield County. If you have any questions relating to an automobile accident or a personal injury claim and would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our Westport office by phone at (203) 221-3100 or via e-mail at JMaya@Mayalaw.com