Sending a text message may soon come with new responsibilities and liabilities if a judge rules that a woman who sent a text message to man is responsible for the man causing a car accident as he read the message.
Baton Rouge lawyers have been watching the lawsuit that was filed by a pair of motorcyclists who were seriously injured after being struck by a car in 2009. One of the motorcyclists lost both legs above the knee, while another had to have one leg amputated. The driver caused the motorcycle accident because he was reading a text message.
Now the two victims are alleging that the woman who sent the message aided the 19-year-old man's negligence, which caused the crash. The lawsuit argues that the woman knew, or should have known, that the man was driving and should not have been viewing text messages.
The driver of the car received three citations for his role in the accident. He pleaded guilty to all of them and has had to pay $775 in fines.
A lawyer for the woman who sent the text message says the lawsuit should be thrown out because she had no control over when, or how, the driver chose to view and read the text message.
If the woman is determined to be held liable, it could reshape how liability in car accidents is determined. Any sender of a text message to a person involved in an accident could potentially be held liable for the driver's actions.
Source: Daily Record, "Morris judge to decide if sender of text is liable if receiver crashes car," Peggy Wright, May 4, 2012