Car Accident Lawyer in Austin, TX Weighs In On New Jersey Texting While Driving Decision

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Personal injury attorney Tony R. Bertolino of Bertolino LLP recommends that drivers turn off their cellphones or keep them out of reach to avoid the temptation of reading or sending a message and putting themselves and others on the road at risk.

We recommend that drivers turn off their cellphones or keep the phones out of reach. By doing so, drivers can reduce the risk of causing an accident.

Austin, Texas car accident lawyer Tony R. Bertolino today commented on recent reports about a New Jersey court decision which found that someone who knowingly sends a text message to a driver could share liability if that driver causes an accident.

According to CNN (Text a driver in New Jersey, and you could see your day in court, August 29), an appeals court in New Jersey made the ruling after two people seriously injured on a motorcycle sued both the driver who collided with the motorcycle and the person who sent the driver a text message moments before the crash.

“Texting while driving is clearly a dangerous activity, which is something we’ve known for years. Studies have found that sending or receiving text messages behind the wheel creates at least as much impairment as driving drunk,” said Bertolino, who represents victims of negligence and families who lost loved ones in accidents. “Now, for the first time, a court has ruled that someone who might be sitting at home on a couch and sending texts could get into legal trouble if he or she knows that the person on the other end is driving.”

Bertolino said the ruling could have wide implications for people not only in New Jersey but in other states who knowingly send text messages to drivers.

“As a personal injury lawyer, I’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact of texting while driving accidents,” Bertolino said. “You can’t overstate how important it is to avoid all distractions while driving. We recommend that drivers turn off their cellphones or keep the phones out of reach. By doing so, drivers can reduce the risk of causing an accident. Now, given the news about the New Jersey ruling, drivers who avoid their cellphones also may be doing a big favor for the person who is texting them.”

According to CNN, the ruling by the New Jersey court is in response to a 2009 car accident in which a teen driver swerved out of his lane and slammed into a motorcycle carrying two people, who each lost a leg. The couple on the motorcycle sued the driver as well as his girlfriend, who had texted him seconds before the crash, CNN reported. The court ultimately found that the teenager who was texting the driver was not at fault because there was no evidence to prove she knew her friend was driving. The judges, however, agreed with the injured couple’s argument.

“We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted,” according to the ruling.

Bertolino said the case illustrates how car accidents can be complex, which is why anyone injured in an accident due to negligence should not hesitate to consult with a personal injury attorney.

About Bertolino LLP
Bertolino LLP is a Texas law firm with a reputation for providing quality legal services in Austin, Houston and San Antonio. The firm’s experienced attorneys handle automobile accidents as well as a range of other legal issues, including divorce and child custody, medical license defense, professional license defense, probate and estates, and personal injury cases. Contact Bertolino LLP today and schedule a case evaluation. Visit

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident in Texas, call (800) 210-0126 or complete the online contact form.

Bertolino LLP
823 Congress Avenue
Suite 704
Austin, Texas 78701

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