Texters Could Potentially Face Liability for Sending Messages to Drivers Later Involved in Car Accidents, State Court Rules
In a recent car accident case, Kubert v. Best, et. al, Sup. Ct. NJ, App. Div. (2013) , a New Jersey appeals court examined whether an individual sending text messages to a driver may be held liable for any resulting accidents caused as a result. The state has laws forbidding texting while driving, as we have in Maryland.
The panel of judges created a new standard of liability in the case, which involved a car accident that took place in 2009. The accident occurred when an 18 year old young man accidentally crossed the center line, colliding into a motorcycle that was carrying a husband and wife. The accident caused both of the individuals to lose their left legs, as a result of the injuries they sustained in the crash.
Later obtained evidence, including phone records, demonstrated that the driver had been actively texting with a 17 year old female friend. After the injured couple settled with the driver in the accident, they claimed that the young woman was also at fault in the accident, for distracting the driver with texts. The trial judge found that the young girl did not owe the injured couple any duty to stop texting, even if she knew that the young man was driving.