Volusia Law Firm Client Awarded $4.3 Million
in Accident Involving Texting and Driving
BUNNEL – A local personal injury law firm that has sponsored an anti-texting and driving campaign since 2012 has won a $4.3 million lawsuit for a Bunnell woman who was a passenger in a car driven by a man who was texting while driving.
Attorney Luis Gracia√, a partner in the Port Orange-based law firm of Rue & Ziffra, received the verdict Aug. 5 in a bench trial for damages before Flagler County Circuit Judge Dennis Craig.
On December 20, 2010, Cacilia Carter, 26, was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her then boyfriend, Joseph Edward O’Guin, both residents of Bunnell. At the intersection of State Road 13 and U.S. Highway 1 in Flagler County, O’Guin ran a stop sign and their vehicle was struck by a tractor trailer. As a result of the impact, Ms. Carter sustained a traumatic brain injury.
“Because he may have allegedly been texting, O’Guin didn’t notice the stop sign and drove into the path of a tractor trailer,” Gracia said. “The tractor trailer hit the car on my client’s side leaving her in a coma for three weeks. She has come a long way in her recovery, but she’s still impaired and permanently and totally disabled.”
Gracia said this type of accident is all too common with drivers being distracted by cellphones and other devices.
“It’s such a tragedy that someone’s decision to text while driving has affected Cacilia’s life in such a manner,” he said.
As a show of its commitment to the anti-texting and driving campaign, Rue & Ziffra purchased a $30,000 texting and driving simulator. With the beginning of a new school year, the simulator will be offered free to area high schools to help get the message to students about the dangers of texting while driving.