Can someone be liable if they send texts to a driver?

Categorized: Auto Accidents

Can someone be liable if they send texts to a driver?

It is common knowledge that texting and driving takes a driver’s vision and concentration away from the road. A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that sending a text takes a drivers’ eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds – the time in which it takes a vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour can travel the length of a football field.

Clearly, a driver who chooses to text behind the wheel is liable for any injuries they cause. But what about the person who is sending that driver text messages? People who knowingly text a driver could be held liable for any accident caused by the driver who receives their texts. However, determining if someone is actually liable is anything but simple.

How can someone be liable for texting a person who causes an accident?

Several legal cases have already attempted to hold texting individuals accountable for the actions of recipients of those texts who were driving, claiming that the texting individual is guilty of “aiding and abetting” the driver’s negligent actions.

While one case in New Jersey failed to hold a defendant liable for texting a driver because the court said the defendant did not know the person receiving the texts was driving, a more recent Pennsylvania case is proceeding with a complaint for damages against two people who texted a driver involved in a fatal crash.

What evidence can prove a texting person was liable for aiding and abetting?

The ability to hold a remote texter liable for damages caused by a driver hinges on proving the person texting the driver knew the recipient was driving or likely to be driving when the text was sent. For example, if a husband texts his wife during the time when she usually drives home from work and the wife texts back, causing a crash, the husband could be liable for damages.

If I believe the driver who hit me was texting, how can I hold that driver and the remote texter liable?

Holding a texting driver liable for causing an accident can be difficult already, and holding a person who texts that driver liable for the same accident can be even more challenging. Since these types of cases have so little legal precedence, make sure you work with a personal injury lawyer to guide you through the process.

Holding a remote texter liable for an accident requires significant evidence. At minimum, this includes:  

  • Proof that the at-fault driver was texting.
  • Proof that the person(s) who texted the driver knew the driver was driving or should have reason to believe they were driving.
  • The texting party ignored the fact that the other person was driving and continued to text.
  • The driver’s responding to or reading of the texts caused the accident in which you suffered an injury.

Obtaining sufficient evidence for this type of case usually requires obtaining cell phone records, witness statements, and carrying out a complex investigation. Cordisco & Saile, LLC has decades of experience helping injured people recover damages after accidents with distracted drivers. Call us today at 215-642-2335 for a free case evaluation to learn how we can help you file a claim against a negligent driver and other liable parties. 

« Return to Main FAQ Listing