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McComb Witten Marcoux

Senders may be liable in car crash involving texting drivers

Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
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Personal Injury Lawyer at McComb Witten Marcoux

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Think twice before you text your friend while he's driving home from work.

" A New Jersey appellate court has decided an individual who sends a text message can share liability in civil cases if the recipient of the message was driving and causes an accident." ( Phil Gregory - Aug 28/13 - Associated Press).

Could this be an indication of the way the law might be headed in British Columbia when a texting driver is involved in an accident?

Here's the story.

According to Phil Gregory's August 28/13, article a couple was badly injured when the motorcycle they were riding was hit by a teenager who was texting and driving.

The couple on the motorcycle sued the teenager's girlfriend who sent the driver messages.

A lower court judge dismissed the case.

At the appeal level the court said that someone who texts a driver is not liable if that driver is involved in an accident.... BUT the person who's sending a text has a duty to refrain if they're aware that the recipient of the text is driving and will likely read the message.

So what does all this mean ?

Well, according to Jenny Carroll ( associate professor of law at Seton Hall University):

" I think the court is trying to send a message both to teenagers and their parents: liability can exist if this is the type of behavior that goes on ... If you text somebody, they're driving, they get into and accident, you may face liability too." ( Phil Gregory- Aug 28/13- Associated Press).

Interestingly enough, ICBC President Mark Blucher has just recently indicated that ICBC will need to raise car insurance rates in part due to accidents caused by texting drivers.

So, it might not be long before a court in B.C. will need to decide whether a person sending a text message to a driver may be liable if the driver causes an accident.

Involved in a car accident caused by a texting driver?

Want to find out more about how texting and driving might impact your ICBC claim?

Send me an e-mail at [email protected]



Category: Car Accidents

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