We all know that texting while driving is very dangerous behind the wheel but people in New Jersey may want to be careful about who they send or receive text messages from after a state Appeals Court ruling in a car accident lawsuit.
The New Jersey Appeals Court recently ruled that people who receive text messages from a driver who causes a car accident can also be held liable for the crash, including being named in personal injury lawsuits filed by car accident victims.
The Appeals Court ruling came after they reviewed a car accident lawsuit against a truck driver who was texting just before he crashed into a motorcycle. The truck driver had received a text message from his 17-year-old friend before the accident. After the accident, the couple injured on the motorcycle filed a lawsuit against the truck driver and the friend who texted him.
While the Appeals Court ruled that the friend in this case could not be held liable for the motorcycle accident, they did rule that people sending text messages can be held liable for accidents in certain cases. They said that individuals can be held liable if they send text messages to someone they know is driving or to someone they know will look at the text message while behind the wheel.
The ruling could significantly impact car accidents lawsuits in the future in New Jersey as texting has become a common way to communicate.
The court ruled that the recepient of the text messages can be held liable if they knew the person was driving. However, it may be difficult to prove that someone knew the other person was driving when they sent a text unless the driver actually writes that they are driving.
Despite the difficulties in proving if someone knew another person was driving or not, the ruling is bound to impact future personal injury lawsuits filed after car accidents in New Jersey.
Source: CBS News, “NJ Court: Text Recipients Can Be Held Liable in Texting-And-Driving Accidents,” Aug. 27, 2013