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Tampa Man Files Suit after Being Rear-Ended by a "Distracted" Cop

The Tampa Tribune published an article about a Tampa man who filed a lawsuit claiming that his car was rear-ended by a police officer who was distracted by an electronic device.

According to court records, the driver is alleging that the Tampa police officer was distracted by a department-issued computer in his vehicle when he rear-ended the plaintiff.

The plaintiff, Ryan Leiker of Tampa named the city of Tampa as the defendant in the suit. The suit is stating that Officer Michael Charles Braband was the at-fault driver in the accident that occurred on Aug. 8, 2012 on Cross Creek Boulevard.

Court records state that Leiker's 2005 Nissan Maxima was westbound on Cross Creek Boulevard where it had been stopped to make a left turn into the Cory Lake Professional Center. Leiker's turn signal was blinking when the Maxima was rear-ended by Braband's patrol car, according to the lawsuit.

The rear-end collision caused an estimated $10,000 in damage to the police car according to the accident report and $20,000 in damage to the Nissan Maxima. After the patrol car struck the Maxima, it went into the eastbound lane where it struck another vehicle, causing an estimated $10,000 in damage to the third vehicle, the report said.

The lawsuit said, "Officer Braband was typing on his computer and not paying attention to the road and caused his police cruiser to strike (Leiker's) car."

The Tampa Tribune reported that no citations had been issued according to the online citation database of the Hillsborough County Clerk's Office. While the accident report said that Braband had been inattentive at the time of the accident, there was no mention of the computer in the narrative of the report.

The suit said that Leiker suffered back and neck pain, he is seeking in excess of $15,000, which is the threshold for a circuit court complaint.

The reprimand noted that Braband was going about 40 mph in a 45 mph zone when he received a message on his computer. The reprimand letter said that he looked at the message and when he looked up, he saw the Nissan stopped and was not able to avoid the crash.

"Officer Braband was not operating his vehicle within departmental guidelines," said the reprimand. "The crash could have been prevented and officer Braband was at fault."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) says that distracted driving plays a key role in preventable crashes. In 2013, Florida became the 41st state to make texting while driving a civil offense with violators facing a penalty of over $100.

Distracted Driving Accidents

Were you involved in a collision with a distracted driver? Aside from speeding and alcohol, distracted driving is one of the predominant causes of auto accidents, with texting while driving being the most alarming and prevalent form of driver distraction.

If you have been injured because a driver was negligently texting, or engaging in another form of distracted driving, we urge you to contact a Tampa personal injury attorney from Smith & Stallworth, Attorneys at Law.

We represent accident victims in all types of motor vehicle collisions and always pursue every possible avenue to help our clients obtain the maximum compensation available.

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