Texting A Driver Can Bring Liability In NJ
- September 10, 2013
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A recently decided court case could change people’s behavior in respect to texting friends who are driving. Kubert v. Best has created a new potential liability for the sender of a text message to a driver who is involved in an accident. Best, the driver of the vehicle in the case was sent text messages by Shannon Colonia, a friend, when he caused an accident with a motorcycle in which both people on the motorcycle lost their legs. While the driver has the ultimate responsibility for avoiding distractions while behind the wheel, the court deemed that like a passenger who must avoid distracting the driver, a sender of the text message must do the same. Liability for accidents involving the sender of a text message can vest when the person sending the text to the driver knows the recipient of the message is behind the wheel. It is almost akin to an accomplice liability where the texter can be liable if they had knowledge of the driver’s actions through continued exchange of texts. In this case the claim of liability against Colonia, the sender of the text message, was dismissed due to the lack of evidence regarding her knowledge of Best being on the road. This could however create a new cause of action for parties involved in accidents due to driving while texting. This new crime can carry a one hundred dollar fine for a first offense and up to a six hundred dollar fine with a 90 day loss of license for a third offense. This case could potentially have created precedenct on future personal injury liability cases involving texting while driving, however we will have to wait and see. Municipal and Traffic Court offenses in NJ will have a serious impact on your life and can have significant implications in related matters such as personal injury. If you are charged with municipal or traffic court violations in NJ you should seek an experienced attorney immediately to protect your rights. For more information about use of a cell phone while driving, driving under the influence, reckless driving or other serious municipal court/traffic matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.