Liability for sending a text to a person that is driving? Nope

I previously blogged about a New Jersey Court considering the issue of liability to the sender of a text message where the receiver of the text message is involved in a car wreck due to the distraction of the text message.  There were compelling facts.

  • Linda and David Kubert were riding on a motorcycle when struck by 18 year old Kyle Best
  • Prior to the wreck, Best was texting with Shannon Colonna and just 8 seconds after responding to a text message from Colonna, Best called 911 to report the wreck
  • As a result of the wreck, Linda and David both required leg amputations

According to the website nj.com, the Judge found “there was no aiding, abetting here in the legal sense. I find it is unreasonable to impose a duty upon the defendant in this case under these facts. Were I to extend this duty, in my judgment any form of distraction could potentially serve as basis of a liability case.”

On these facts I think the Judge probably got it right, but as I said in my previous post, these cases are going to be fact specific.  Just because there was no liability here, doesn’t necessarily mean there can never be liability for the sender of text messages that distract a driver and cause a wreck.  Other courts may take a different view and as with anything related to technology, opinions are constantly evolving.

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About randywallace
I am a husband, father, attorney, outdoorsman and cook.

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