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You May Now Be Liable for Texting a Driver in NJ

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According to a NJ state appeals court, if you knowingly text a driver in New Jersey, you could now be held responsible if he causes an accident.

In September 2009, Kyle Best was driving when he received texts from Shannon Colonna. The two sent messages every few minutes. After responding to a text, Best’s truck drifted into another lane and collided with two motorcyclists.   

Both motorcyclists lost their left legs in the accident. They sued Best under the theory that he was negligent in how he drove the car. That part of the case settled, with Best paying for damages. 

But the motorcyclists also sued Colonna. Although this case was initially dismissed, the motorcyclists appealed. They argued that by texting a driver of a motor vehicle, Colonna should be treated like someone sitting next to the driver and willfully causing a distraction. 

The Appeals Court agreed with the motorcyclists - to a certain extent. They ruled that, if the sender knows the recipient is driving and texting at the same time, the sender may be held liable for the accident. This rule would only apply if the sender knew that the recipient would view the text while driving and, therefore, be distracted.

In this case, the judges left Colonna off the hook. Since she was unaware that Best was texting while driving, she was not responsible for the NJ car accident.

If you were hurt in a car accident and would like to know your best move, get in touch with a Morris Plains car accident lawyer. Manfred Ricciardelli will help you understand your rights and get the benefits you need. For a free consultation, contact us today at 973-285-1100.

Category: Car Accidents

Manfred Ricciardelli
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