New Jersey Court of Appeals Rules That Person Who Sent Text to A Driver Can Be Found Liable for Damages

The New Jersey Court of Appeals found that a person who knowingly sent a text to a driver can share liability if the driver receiving the text message causes an accident. The ruling was in the case of a couple who lost both their legs when their motorcycle was hit by a teenager who was texting and driving in Morris County, New Jersey in 2009. The motorists sued the driver and also his girlfriend who sent him the text messages while he was driving. The claim against the girlfriend was dismissed by the trial court. The appeals court upheld that lower court ruling.
The appeals court ruled that normally a person who texts a motorist can’t be held liable for the driver’s negligent actions. However, the court did state that the texter has a duty to refrain from texting if he or she knows the recipient is driving a car and likely to read the message. The injured couple settled their lawsuit against the driver for $500,000, but was unsuccessful in the claim against the texting girlfriend. The court’s opinion indicates that the claim would have been upheld had there been the required proof.

Source: Claims Journal