Appeals Court Considers Liability of Remote Texter in Car Wreck

Martha Neil with the ABA Journal reports that an appeals court is considering whether or not a person can be held responsible for sending a text message to someone that the person knows is driving.

It puts a whole new spin on the texting problem, wherein drivers send and read texts, take their eyes off the road, and end up injuring or killing someone in a car wreck because of distraction.

When two motorcyclists were injured in a crash involving a texting driver in 2009, they sued both the driver and the person who sent the offending text. The trial court judge tossed out the claim against the person who sent the text.

Now the case is up on appeal, and the court will look at this "novel theory," which doesn't seem to hold much water. The defense lawyer's argument seems most apt: "My client doesn't know he's driving, she doesn't know his schedule. She cannot control when [he] reads the message."

As Phoenix personal injury lawyers who represent people injured in car accidents because of distracted drivers, this theory certainly is interesting, but unlikely to move forward on appeal. Perhaps we'll be wrong. Perhaps the appeals court will hold that a person has a duty of care not to send text messages to someone they know to be driving, but it just doesn't seem likely.

After all, it's drivers themselves that have a duty to keep their hands on the wheel, not on their phones.

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