|Posted on May 9, 2014 at 4:30 PM||comments (3)|
Why it’s NEVER okay to Text and Drive.
By Mande Moyer, Attorney at Law
We all know texting and driving is dangerous, but sometimes it’s not only texting and driving that is dangerous. Using social media or even texting someone you know is driving can have devastating consequences. This article will explain several, but not all, of the ways one can be held liable for using a phone while operating a motor vehicle.
Facebook while driving.
I use Facebook. I use it for my personal life and my professional life. I have several friends who regularly post status updates and those who take pictures of themselves (“selfies”) while they are driving. I even have friends take pictures of the car in front of them, pictures of the beautiful scenery along the highway or a funny billboard they may see. My advice to them…DON’T DO THIS. One of the first thoughts I have when a victim comes to me with his/her personal injury case is, “What was the other driver doing that caused this accident?” Obviously, the driver was not paying attention or most likely the accident would not have happened. Granted there are those circumstances where it was just a plain accident, but more times than not, the at-fault driver was distracted. Moreover, if it is found they were distracted by their phone, this only increases the damages a victim can receive from an at-fault driver.
Now I know what everyone is saying…Oh, I have my Facebook privacy settings on so only my friends can see what I post and no one would ever know that I was distracted by my phone when I hit that person…WRONG. As the victim’s attorney, I am entitled to see your Facebook page regardless of your privacy settings. This will be learned in a legal process called “discovery.” In other words, it will be discovered that you were updating your status, posting a photo/video or writing on someone’s wall at the time of the accident. Also, to make it worse, if you try and go back and delete any post or uploaded photo to try and hide your negligence, well…just don’t even try this...
Third Parties Liability for Texting and Driving
On another note, if you know someone that is driving and you text them, you could be liable in a personal injury case as well. Say, if you know someone is driving back to their college town or on their way over to your house and you text them, most likely, they are going to read it. If they read it and injure another person because of this, it will be discovered you were the one texting them and that you had reason to know they were driving. Bottom line – DON’T DOTHIS. And if you think this is too crazy and way out in left field, take a look at the recent case out of New Jersey http://caselaw.findlaw.com/nj-superior-court-appellate-division/1642801.html that determined whether one who is texting from a location remote from the driver of a motor vehicle can be liable to persons injured because the driver was distracted by the text. The Superior Court of New Jersey held 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.
Bottom line…be responsible and use your phone in a responsible way. No text or post is worth all of the heartbreak one could go through if one causes an accident or causes someone’s death. Also, be aware of the person you are texting and think about where they are. If it’s 5:00pm on a week day and you know they sprint out of work right away, every day, don’t text them at 5:15 because they, most likely, will be driving. Use your common sense and it could save a life.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, call our office for a free consultation at (404) 593-4877.