Louisville Personal Injury Attorney Mike Schafer Comments on a New Jersey Court Ruling

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A New Jersey Superior Court ruling provides that a remote texter may be held liable in a distracted-related crash and Attorney Mike Schafer of The Schafer Law Office gives his comments on this controversial ruling.

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It is an opinion that I can see both sides on. If the sender knows the recipients is driving but does not intend him to answer, I think there should be no liability.

Louisville, KY accident attorney Mike Schafer today gave his opinion regarding the New Jersey Court ruling that a remote texter who sends messages can be held liable for an accident if he or she knows that the recipient was driving and would read the messages.

“It is an opinion that I can see both sides on. If the sender knows the recipient is driving but does not intend him to answer, I think there should be no liability,” Schafer stated.

He added that it all boils down to intent. “If the sender is trying to agitate the recipient or is demanding an answer, he may be held liable if a car crash resulted.”

The New Jersey case, “LINDA KUBERT and DAVID KUBERt, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. KYLE BEST, SUSAN R. BEST, Executrix of the estate of NICKOLAS J. BEST, Deceased, Defendants, and SHANNON COLONNA, Defendant-Respondent, was an appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, Docket No. L-1975-10.

In the article entitled “Text sender could be civilly liable for N.J. wreck”, published on usatoday.com, August 29, the accident happened in 2009 when Linda Kubert and David Kubert were seriously injured when their motorcycle was hit by a pickup truck driven by Kyle Best who was texting with his girlfriend Shannon Colonna at that time. The New Jersey court upheld the lower court’s decision as there has been no sufficient and necessary evidence to prove breach of Colonna’s duty not to text Best. It was not established that Colonna knew Best was driving and that the latter would respond immediately.

“Distracted driving has taken many lives in the country and most of the crashes related to distracted driving punishes only the driver who either text or read messages. Text senders or remote texters, though, do not have personal liability. But with the latest New Jersey court ruling, the question arises if such extending the liability would make anti-texting laws more effective,” Schafer said.

Attorney Schafer concluded that at the end of the day, we have to remember that driving and texting do not mix and that we, as motorists, have the responsibility to adhere to traffic laws.

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