Copyright

(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Texting a Message to A Driver Imposes Liability for an Accident

In an unanimous decision a NJ Appellate Court held a texter potentially liable for causing a motor vehicle accident:

"The issue before us is not directly addressed by these
statutes or any case law that has been brought to our attention.
"We must determine as a matter of civil common law whether one
who is texting from a location remote from the driver of a motor
vehicle can be liable to persons injured because the driver was
distracted by the text. We hold that the sender of a text
message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by
texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to
know that the recipient would view the text while driving and
thus be distracted.

"In this appeal, we must also decide whether plaintiffs have
shown sufficient evidence to defeat summary judgment in favor of
the remote texter. We conclude they have not. We affirm the
trial court's order dismissing plaintiffs' complaint against the
sender of the text messages, but we do not adopt the trial
court's reasoning that a remote texter does not have a legal
duty to avoid sending text messages to one who is driving.

"We conclude that a person sending text messages has a 
duty not to text someone who is driving if the texter knows, or 
has special reason to know, the recipient will view the text 
while driving. But we also conclude that plaintiffs have not 
presented sufficient evidence to prove that Colonna had such 
knowledge when she texted Best immediately before the accident.

LINDA KUBERT AND DAVID
KUBERT,
Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
KYLE BEST, SUSAN R. BEST,
EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF
NICKOLAS J. BEST, DECEASED,
Defendants,
and
SHANNON COLONNA,

Defendant-Respondent.
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
APPELLATE DIVISION
DOCKET NO. A-1128-12T4
August 27, 2013
….

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Read more about "texting" and workers' compensation:
Jul 31, 2009
New technology encroaching upon the workplace has been both a help and a hindrance. Recent studies add to the growing volumes of data reporting that the use of cell phones while driving provides a significant distraction ...
Feb 11, 2011
A workers compensation claim filed by a state trooper for injuries he sustained while texting and speeding 126 miles per hour that resulting in a fatal accident with oncoming teenagers, a driver and a passenger, has drawn ...
Apr 29, 2011
CDC urged employers to prohibit texting while driving. A safety initiative by employers will go along way to reducing workers' compensation costs. "What is already known on this topic? Highway transportation crashes are the ...
Apr 18, 2011
Following the policy announced by President Obama in his Executive Order banning texting while driving, OSHA is calling upon all employers to ban texting while driving. It is the intention of OSHA to provide education and ...