Texting a Driver Results in Partial Liability in Recent Court Case

remote texterIf you have never before considered the consequences of texting someone when you know they are operating a vehicle, now is the time.

According to a case in New Jersey, drivers in that state can be held partially responsible for a car crash in certain cases if they were texting the driver of the vehicle at the time of the crash.

What is this new ruling based on?

The case came to light after a teenager, who was driving his truck down a rural highway, drifted across the center line and into oncoming traffic striking a motorcycle. The teenager was reading a text at the time.

The motorcyclist and the passenger riding on the motorcycle both were severely injured. The collision almost severed the leg of the driver and crushed the leg of the passenger. Eventually, both individuals had to have their left legs amputated.

The lawsuit that ensued:

The parties, which were injured during the wreck, filed suit against the teenage boy driving the truck and the girl who was texting him at the time of the crash. The plaintiff’s attorney argued that the girl was electronically in the car and was knowingly distracting the boy from the road.

How did the court rule?

The jurors did not find the friend who was texting the boy liable. Although the case did not go any further, two of the three appellate judges expressed their belief that a text sender should be held responsible if they are aware they are texting someone who is driving.

The two judges made the following statement regarding the legal responsibility of a text sender:

“When the sender knows that the text will reach the driver while they are operating a vehicle, the sender has a relationship to the public who use the roadways similar to that of a passenger in the vehicle.”

Why was the sender not held responsible in this case?

In this particular case, it was revealed that the girl who sent the text sent hundreds of texts a day and did not know that the boy was driving at the time in which she was texting him.

What does this case mean?

Although the person texting in this case was not held legally responsible for the accident, the ruling does open the door for similar claims in the future. Criminal laws have not been altered, but civil lawsuits could now be brought against an individual who knowingly texts another person while they are driving.

If you need help from a personal injury attorney, contact us today.

If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a distracted driving incident, call the Florida car accident lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk at 727-472-4021 for a free consultation.

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