Can You Be Held Liable For Knowingly Sending Text Message To Driver?

An attorney in a settlement case where a husband and wife both lost a leg in a motorcycle accident caused by a driver who was texting, says a jury should decide if the driver’s friend should be held liable for sending a text message to the driver.

Although a judge had ruled that the woman who sent the message can’t be held liable, according to a report in Fox News, the attorney for the couple says the woman should have known the driver was operating the vehicle and texting her at the time. He argued that while the woman was not physically present at the wreck, she was “electronically present.”

The couple had already settled for $500,000, but plans on appealing the judge’s ruling regarding the woman who sent the text message.

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  1. If it can be proven from the the context of the text converstion then yes the sender shouuld be liable. Sending one text would be almost impossible to prove anything

  2. Shouldn’t the phone manufacturers also be held responsible?

    (Just like liberal Democrats want gun manufacturers to be held liable for the actions of a deranged gunman.)

    And why stop there? Maybe the inventer of the cell phone should be held responsible. If not for him, people wouldn’t be texting while driving.

  3. too bad! if u cant control urself from looking at a txt while driving u suffer the consenquences… y shld s/o else be liable for your lack of self control

  4. I frequently text my husband and daughter information as to when I will be home, where I am, etc. no response is necessary and half the time I don’t know where they are. So how am I supposed to know if they are in a car or not. This is crazy

  5. I would have no problem sending a text to someone driving. Read it when you are available. Sometimes, I don’t want to lose my train of thought and just want to let the message out.

  6. That is just ridiculous! I agree with Yid! Where does it all stop!? People are just money hungry to sue! The truth of the matter is drivers are distracted most of the time, especially those with small children in the car. How many times do mothers look back at infants in car seats. How many people are distracted changing a radio station or talking to a passagner! It is very sad that this happened and could have been avoided, but come on, then charge everyone else who is distracted & the infants who cried to distract the Mom’s!!!! Come on, you can’t hold someone accountible for sending a text! They didn’t make the driver answer it!

  7. Not so ridiculous! It will probably fail for lack of proximate cause. Think about it. If you text someone that you know is driving and will likely read your text while driving, based on an ongoing text conversation or other knowledge already informing you that the other party is presently driving, do you not knowingly cause and participate in distracting such driver from properly paying attention to the road? You are probably oiver on Ushmartem Meoid Linafshoiseichem (with Kol yisroel Areivim) by doing so, or at the very least Lifnei Eever, but I leave such questions to a Rov, including the defense of Gramah. Literally “Miaver Eini Pikchim” but without the Shoichad.

  8. Reb Yid,
     Your comments  are usually right on target. Here, I beg to differ. 

    It is my humble opinion that If A knew that B was driving, and, A knew without a shadow of a doubt,  that B was reading A’s texts and texting back.  And, even having this direct knowledge, A  still  texted B, he should be partially liable for any damage of the accident. 

     Before anyone goes meshiga, please hear me out. Let’s talk about the following  example:

    If A & B are driving together in ONE car;  and A distracts B somehow during driving. And, as a result of this distraction, B gets into an accident. It is my humble opinion that  if the Courts would rule that in this instance A is partially liable for the accident due to his negligence in distracting the driver. 

    So too with texting.  A electronically  distracted B. No difference. 

    Again, my argument is based on the premise that in the event Courts would hold that when A is physically distracting B, he will be held liable, then no difference with electronic texting.  I hope i am clear that my position is ONLY if the person knew that he was driving. For instance, if the previous text said. “Can’t talk now, driving. Let’s talk in 30 min”
    If A with this knowledge still  continued to text. IMHO B is partially obligated for the accident.

  9. “a settlement case where a husband and wife lost a leg”
    Not to be insensitive….but just trying to understand….. Each lost a leg?? or just one??

  10. This is (moderated)! The driver clearly had the option to not answer or read said text. I’m losing faith in humanity for placing blame on everyone else rather than taking responsibility for their own actions.

  11. I agree with you in theory, however, there are different types of distractions.

    If A and B are in the same car, and A does something to distract B “in a way that B is **forced** to be distracted, then in that case A would be liable”. For example, if A would somehow scare B in such a way that there is no reasonable way that B could not be distracted, and that causes B to drive into a tree, then – yes, A is liable.

    However, texting someone is not forcing that person to be distracted. It is the driver’s choice to read the text, or to not read the text. The fact that the driver cannot exercize self-control, and feels the need toread his texts while driving, does not make the sender of the text liable in any reasonable way.

  12. Hey Yid , you forgot Henry Ford he was the one that made cheep cars for everyone …… no car no accident, makes sense to me …. how about the gas companies …. no gas car don’t run, no accident…. can we get some Lawyers to chime in with suggestions….

  13. it’s very difficult to prove guilt of texter in any event. the texter will claim they thought the driver pulled over.
    this is what gives the legal profession a bad name…

  14. Thank you for your thoughtful response. 

    If A and B are in the same car, and, during a very quiet moment  A says “Boo” to B and B crashes. 

    Was B ” forced” to be distracted?

    While this may seem as silly example, I think you get the point. 

    When is someone “forced”?

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