"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
KYLE BEST, SUSAN R. BEST,
EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF
NICKOLAS J. BEST, DECEASED,
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
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 firstname.lastname@example.org have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
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