Know Who You Are Texting – Don’t Cause A Personal Injury Accident.

August 30, 2013

Buffalo drivers are subject to New York State law regarding texting while driving.  Texting while driving is illegal in New York State, and if someone causes a personal injury accident while texting, they may be held liable for the harm they have caused.  Even people who don’t text and drive, however, should be aware that a court outside of New York State recently ruled that not only the driver, but also a person sending a text to a driver may be held liable in a personal injury accident.

The case involved a truck driven in New Jersey by an 18 year old that drifted over the center line and struck a motorcycle in 2009.  The couple riding the motorcycle filed a personal injury lawsuit against not only the driver, but also against his 17 year old girlfriend who had texted him shortly before the collision.  The issue of whether the girlfriend could be found negligent for texting the driver was recently heard by a New Jersey appeals court.

While the appeals court ultimately found that there was no evidence that the girlfriend knew her boyfriend was driving at the time and dismissed the case against her, they also specifically ruled that a person has a duty not to send a text to a driver if the texter knows the driver is likely to read it while driving.  As a result, according to this New Jersey decision, a person who sends a text to someone they know is driving may be held liable for personal injury caused by that driver.

To our knowledge, no New York court has ruled on this issue.  Given the danger of texting while driving, however, we strongly urge everyone not to text people they know will read it while driving.  If you have been injured and have any questions about texting while driving laws, please call us at 716-400-0000.

Sources:
“Can you really be liable for texting a driver?” Doug Gross, CNN, 8/29/13
“NJ court:  text sender can be held liable in crash” Associated Press, 8/29/13