Car accident lawyers around the country are carefully watching the environment changes as technology brings about new ways in how the laws apply in cases. Specifically the increased use of cell phones while driving and the implications for the person on the other end of the phone.
In Miami, and throughout South Florida, it is still legal to use a cell phone for text messaging while driving. While driving here, one can’t help but notice the glancing heads towards the laps or the cell pones being held at eye level while driving. Clearly we all agree this is a dangerous habit.
A judge in New Jersey recently had to address an interesting issue with respect to an accident caused by text messaging. In that case a couple had sent several text messages back and forth. One party was actually driving while the text messages were being sent and eventually caused an accident causing serious harm to a couple on a motorcycle. While the driver admitted guilt and was clearly liable for the accident and injuries, the question was whether his girlfriend who had engaged the series of messages with him was also liable. After all she knew he was operating a motor vehicle and understood, or should have known of, the dangerous condition her messages were causing.
The lawyer for the victims in this case argued that the girlfriend knew or should have known that text messaging while driving was illegal in New Jersey and therefore she aided and abetted her boyfriend in engaging in this crime. Although the driver made the choice to focus his attention away from the road and safe operation of the vehicle, that it was her messages that set the events in motion. The victims’ attorney believed that her actions were contributory to the losses and therefore she too should be held liable in addition to her boyfriend.
The judge in this action eventually agreed with the girlfriend. However, the fact that this argument was made presents an interesting perspective for all personal injury attorneys and lawyers in the country.
Miami attorney Ruth E. Johnson urges all drivers to avoid cell phone use while driving. The risks are so monumental that it is worth a second thought each and every time one is tempted to check a message, read an email or dial a number.