A judge in New Jersey is expected to render a decision as to the liability of the person who sent a text message to the driver of a vehicle involved in a serious automobile accident caused by distracted driving. In 2009, 19 year old Kyle Best was texting while driving when he drifted into oncoming traffic, sideswiping a car occupied by David and Linda Kuber. Both of the Kubers lost their legs in the horrific crash.
An attorney representing the injured parties maintains that Shannon Colonna, who was Best’s girlfriend and was exchanging text messages with Best at the time of the accident, should also be held responsible for the car accident. “She was not physically in the vehicle but she was electronically present. She and he were assisting each other in a violation of the law” said the attorney. He continued “If she was in the vehicle and put her hands over his eyes so he couldn’t see, she would be liable. (Texting with him) is as if she put her hands over his eyes.”
A Utah-based attorney who authored a recent article on “aiding and abetting ” believes that a claim for aiding and abetting a driver’s negligent or reckless conduct could be made if there is clear evidence that the texter knew the driver was reading the texts and texting.
Others have expressed concern about how far liability might extend if this novel legal argument is upheld. With nearly half a million American drivers injured in car accidents due to distracted driving every year, the New Jersey judge’s decision could have substantial impact.
For more information, contact the Ohio distracted driving accident attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List.
Source: MSNBC, “Could you be sued for texting with a driver? Experts say, ‘maybe,’ Bob Sullivan, May 22, 2012.