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Who should be held liable when texting causes an accident?

September 6, 2013 Car Accidents

On behalf of Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP

In recent years there seems to be continuous warnings regarding the dangers of texting while driving. Yet — even with all of the warnings — many drivers in New York City continue to text when behind the wheel. Even with it being against the law to text and drive, there are still drivers in New York City not obeying the law.

However, to further get the attention of drivers and those who text, a recent state appeals court ruling hopes to really drive home the message on just how dangerous texting while driving is.

In this case, the appeals court ruled that the recipient of text messages can be found liable if the person sending that text message was driving.

What this means is that if someone sitting at home sends a text message to their friend, and that friend texts back, the person sitting at home could also end up liable if there is an accident with injuries to others.

However, according to the state Appeals Court, in order for this to work, the person sending the text message to the driver must know the person is driving while sending and receiving text messages.

Of course, this recent ruling may be hard to enforce. For unless someone specifically texts “I’m driving” it may be hard to prove, although, not impossible.

At this point, most who have heard of the ruling are outraged, with the common theme of the arguments being that it should be up to the driver to take personal responsibility and not send or read texts while driving.

As a New York City resident what do you think? Should both the person who sent the text and the one who received the text be held liable if the distraction leads to a car accident where others are hurt?

Source: CBS New York, “N.J. Court: Text Recipients Can Be Held Liable In Texting-And-Driving Accidents,” Aug. 27, 2013