The law is not static - the law changes. One such change is currently underway in distracted driving cases.
What type of change is underway? It is not a novel concept to hold a driver liable for an accident if the driver was distracted by his or her cellphone at the time of the crash. It is novel to hold the person sending the text at least partly responsible for the accident. This is the area of law that is currently changing.
Are courts really holding senders of text messages liable for accidents? Yes, courts are really starting to hold the sender of a text message liable for accidents.
The most notable courts making this move are in New Jersey. This is not a surprise, as New Jersey courts have a reputation for setting legal trends. As noted in a recent article in The Washington Post, the New Jersey Supreme Court led the way in cases holding bars and other establishments serving alcohol liable if they over served a patron and that patron later injured victims in a car accident.
Now, these same courts are working to change liability again by outlining when those sending messages can be responsible for an accident.
When is a person who sends a text liable for injuries in an auto wreck? This area of law is relatively new and the particulars are still being defined. However, it appears that one could be liable if it can be established that the person sending the message knew or should have known that the person receiving the message was driving.
What does this mean for distracted driving cases in Indiana? Courts in Indiana have yet to address this issue. However, holdings from New Jersey will likely be taken into account if a similar issue is presented here in Indiana.
What is the best course of action for victims of distracted driving accidents? Victims of these accidents that wish to hold the driver accountable for his or her actions can likely do so through a personal injury suit.
Those who are in this situation are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer can review the details of your case, discuss recent changes like the one noted above and advocate for your rights, working to better ensure a more favorable outcome.