Automobile Accidents/Cell Phone Distraction

Haggard Law Firm > Automobile Accidents/Cell Phone Distraction

Our firm has also successfully litigated and settled hundreds of claims involving all types of motor vehicle accident cases, including pedestrian/auto; bicycle/auto accidents; multiple car crashes and crashes resulting from the defendant being distracted while using a cell phone. The Haggard Law Firm was responsible for obtaining the first verdict in the nation.


The Haggard Law Firm was responsible for obtaining the first verdict in the nation dealing with the issue of cell phone distraction in automobile accidents. In December 2001, our firm won a $21 million verdict in the case of Alicia Bustos, a 78-year-old woman who was a seat-belted passenger in a car that was violently struck at a Miami (Hialeah) intersection by a driver talking on his cell phone.


The defendant was conducting a business call while driving in his capacity as a salesman for a lumber wholesale company. The woman was left with catastrophic injuries requiring permanent bedside care and she eventually passed away. The defendant had told attorneys that he was not using his cell phone just before the impact, but the lawyer team of Wm. Andrew Haggard and Michael Haggard proved otherwise after subpoenaing cell phone records. This influenced the jury’s decision, and the result was the largest personal injury verdict in Miami-Dade County’s history at that time.

Notable Automobile Accidents/Cell Phone Distraction Cases

Souza  v. CH Global Construction

$1.566 Million – Verdict (Miami, FL) Auto Accident

Following a 5-day civil court trial, a Miami-Dade jury awarded John Souza nearly $1.57 million. The trial stemmed from a lawsuit Souza, an Atlanta resident, filed after suffering injuries to his spine following a car accident on October 20, 2014. Souza and his wife, Anh, were traveling north on Biscayne Boulevard when another driver violated the right-of-way and collided into their car just off NW 35th Street.

The defendants, CH Global Construction who owned the vehicle, admitted the crash was their fault but also said the Souza was traveling too fast for the conditions. Souza, who was in town for a fitness competition, did not seek medical attention until he went back home to Atlanta the next day.

Souza suffered 2 herniated discs in his lumbar spine. The defense argued the herniations were pre-existing. John also suffered from cluster/migraine headaches after the accident despite no objective findings in his cervical spine.  He went through a lumbar discectomy 2 1/2 years after the accident and had also been receiving radio frequency ablation to the cervical spine to help with his headaches. The defendants claimed that all of the treatment was either unnecessary or related to the accident.

A major issue in the case was a plethora of photos on social media where his client could be seen traveling all over the world and enjoying himself with his wife.  In the face of those photos, Haggard Law attorney Douglas McCarron explained to the jury that the medical treatment John was receiving allowed him to live a normal life. “We asked for his past and future medical bills so John can continue to live his life. We also told the jury that if they awarded the medical bills, that the Souzas were not interested in pain and suffering.”

Haggard Law Associate Attorney Pedro Echarte worked with McCarron on the case.

Douglas McCarron’s Bio:

Pedro Echarte’s Bio: Click Here


$3.6 Million – Verdict (Miami, Florida)- Wrongful Death/Auto Accident.

Action against rental car agency and defendant driver by deceased plaintiff passenger’s personal representative after hit-and-run automobile accident.


$4.25 Million – Settlement (Freeport, Bahamas) Wrongful Death/Auto

Plaintiff, a 45-year-old Bahamian woman and employee of the port of Freeport, was killed when struck head-on when defendant’s delivery truck lost control and crossed the median. She left behind a husband, two adult children and one minor child.


$4 Million – Settlement (Miami, Florida) – Wrongful Death/Auto Accident

auto accident caused by an employee of the electric company. The employee, who was driving his own car but conducting company business at the time of the accident, ran a red light causing the fatal accident. Witnesses at the scene claim that the employee of the electric company was too distracted and made no attempt to break when he saw the light turn red. The victim spent most of his life caring for his daughter with special needs as his wife worked to support the family. The daughter was in the passenger seat when the accident occurred.


$3 million – Settlement (Miami Beach, Florida) – Automobile Accident

Ms. Evelyn Quino and her nephew, Jerry Dongo, were leaving work on Jerry’s scooter. Jerry was driving the scooter and Ms. Quino was the rear passenger. As they approached the intersection, Jerry slowed, coming to a complete stop at the red light in front of him. Jerry and Evelyn sat there waiting for the light to change when a commercial vehicle owned by Over the Top, Inc., came barreling up to the

light at around 65 MPH and made absolutely no attempt to stop. The driver of the commercial truck, Guerrier Sauvagere, plowed right through the scooter, violently throwing Evelyn and Jerry’s bodies clear across the intersection. The collision killed Evelyn Quino and severely injured her nephew, Jerry Dongo. The case was settled for policy limits.

 **Prospective clients may not obtain similar results. Amounts stated within this website are before deductions for fees, cost of attorneys and third party providers such as medical providers.**