Driver who allegedly falls asleep behind the wheel faces civil complaint

Jon Campisi Aug. 30, 2011, 9:59am

A Philadelphia woman is suing a fellow city resident for injuries she sustained after being struck by the defendant’s vehicle while both were driving along Route 1.

Attorney Steven Schatz, of the Philadelphia law firm of Master Weinstein Schatz Moyer, P.C., filed the personal injury complaint Aug. 26 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Danielle Bryant.

The defendant in the case is Frederick Baker of Northeast Philadelphia.

According to the civil claim, Bryant was driving her vehicle northbound on Route 1, also known as the Roosevelt Boulevard, on April 4 of last year, when “suddenly and without warning,” a vehicle driven by the defendant collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle, causing her to suffer “severe, permanent, painful and debilitating injuries.”

The lawsuit claims that prior to the accident, Baker had fallen asleep while driving his vehicle, which was also traveling northbound on Route 1.

Baker had told a city police officer that he was tired and had dozed off at the time his vehicle collided with the roadway’s concrete barrier and subsequently the plaintiff’s vehicle.

The lawsuit claims that Bryant sustained injuries to her neck, back and other parts of her body, which have required her to undergo medical treatment and rehabilitative services. The medical treatment has caused the plaintiff to spend various sums of money.

Bryant has also experienced a loss of income because of her inability to work, the suit claims. Furthermore, she has suffered “pain, aches, mental anguish and humiliation, inconveniences and a loss of life’s pleasures, and she will continue to suffer same for an indefinite time in the future.”

The lawsuit accuses Baker of failing to properly operate a motor vehicle, driving at an excessive speed, failing to have the vehicle under his proper control, operating the motor vehicle without due regard to the rights, safety and position of the plaintiff, and otherwise operating his vehicle in a “reckless, careless and negligent manner.”

Bryant demands judgment against Baker for compensatory and punitive damages in a sum not in excess of $50,000, plus interest and related costs.

The lawsuit states that punitive damages are being sought in addition to compensatory damages because “a jury could reasonably conclude that defendant’s actions were reckless, wanton and outrageous.”

Punitive damages, the lawsuit states, are awarded when the conduct of the defendant is more serious than the mere commission of a tort.

An arbitration hearing in the case has been set for May 1, 2012.

The case number is 110803870.

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