New Jersey Court Considers Liability for Text Sender

A New Jersey appeals court panel recently heard arguments on whether a person who sends a text can be liable for damages if the recipient crashes and injures others while reading and driving.

A Morristown Superior Court judge previously ruled that Shannon Colonna of Rockaway, then 17, was not liable for “aiding and abetting” Kyle Best, then 19, who was distracted by Colonna’s text and crashed into a couple on a motorcycle.

The motorcyclists, David and Linda Kubert, each lost a leg when Best’s pick-up hit them in September, 2009.

The Kuberts’ attorney urged the panel to “send a message” that texters should have a duty of care to avoid sending texts if they know the recipient is driving.

Colonna and Best had exchanged 62 texts in the hours before the crash.

Colonna’s lawyer argued to the panel that she shouldn’t be responsible for Best’s decision to read her texts while driving.

One judge wondered whether a texter could only be liable if she or he knew a message recipient was driving and likely to read the message immediately.

The Kuberts settled their lawsuit against Best for $500,000, the limits of the insurance policy on the truck he was driving.

Best pleaded guilty to using a hand-held device while driving and as part of his sentence was ordered to speak to 14 high schools about the dangers of texting while driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident, whether or not texting was involved, contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C.

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