After a motorcycle accident, there could be many parties responsible for your crash and your injuries. If the driver of the other vehicle was texting while driving, the person sending/responding to those texts could also be held responsible. A New Jersey appeals court disagreed with a lower court and found that a person could have a legal duty to avoid texting someone who they know is driving.
The case before the court involved a New Jersey motorcycling couple that was sideswiped by an 18 year-old texting pickup truck driver. The couple each lost a leg in the accident and settled their claims with the teenager. They also filed a lawsuit against the 17-year-old friend who was texting the driver before the accident, but the lower court dismissed those claims. While the appeals court did not find the friend liable (she did not know he was driving), they did set precedence for future lawsuits against texting individuals.
According to the court, “When the sender knows that the text will reach the driver while operating a vehicle, the sender has a relationship to the public who use the roadways similar to that of a passenger physically present in the vehicle.”
If the texting individual on the other end knew that their texts were being sent to an individual driving, then he or she could be held liable. They must know that the driver is both on the road and would read their messages. While some responsibility does lie with the texting person, it is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to pick up the phone or not.
At Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®, we have been fighting for motorcyclists’ rights for over 35 years. We also created a safety campaign against distracted driving to help increase awareness about the dangers of driving distracted. Our “Keep Me Alive—Don’t Text & Drive” campaign is in full swing and you can help raise awareness yourselves by grabbing some of our complimentary stickers at www.killabikergotojail.com. You can also learn more about BAM or our law firm at 1-800-4-BIKERS or visit us on the web at www.russbrown.com.