Should Texter and Textee Face Distracted Driving Charges?

A New Jersey motorcycle accident lawsuit could expand liability in distracted driving cases. In 2009, a pick-up truck crashed into a motorcycle, severely injuring the two riders (both lost part of a leg). The truck driver was replying to a text message, and prosecutors will decide this month whether the woman who sent the text is partially liable for the accident.

Driver Kyle Best, 19, was texting back and forth with Shannon Colonna, 19, when his vehicle drifted across the median and crashed into David and Linda Kuthbert’s motorcycle. The Kuthberts initially brought the lawsuit against Best, but they have now expanded it to include Colonna.

“They were texting back and forth like a verbal conversation,” said Stephen Weinstein, the Kuthbert’s attorney. “She may not have been physically present, but she was electronically present.”

Weinstein claims that Colonna, familiar with Best’s schedule, had to know that Best was driving at the time. By engaging Best in a text conversation, Weinstein says, Colonna’s actions are comparable to allowing a drunken friend to drive.

Colonna’s attorney, Joseph McGlone, argued that this was not a valid claim.

“The sender of the text has the right to assume the recipient will read it at a safe time,” McGlone said.

Does Colonna bear some responsibility for texting Best while she knew he was on the road? Or is Best fully responsible for the accident?

One thing is for certain – if you use a cell phone while driving, the chances of getting into an auto accident increase exponentially. Put the phone down until you arrive at your destination.

The Metier Law FirmDenver accident lawyers

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