from the common-sense-prevails dept
A few years ago, we noted the slight trend of people suing mobile operators over car crashes with drivers who were on their phones. Those lawsuits haven't gone very far, but with the rise of "texting while driving" as a big issue these days, someone apparently tried to blame a woman who texted her boyfriend for a car accident, because as he attempted to reply, he plowed into a couple on a motorcycle. The lawyer for the couple argued that the woman should have known that her boyfriend was driving at the time they were texting. Even if that was true, that hardly means she's to blame for the accident in any legal sense. Thankfully, the judge readily agreed, dismissing the case against her, and noting that the responsibility is on the recipient. Otherwise there would be some perverse results:
Rand said it's reasonable for text message senders to assume the recipients will behave responsibly, and he also noted drivers are bombarded with many forms of distraction, whether they be text messages, notifications from smartphones, GPS devices or signs along the road.
"Were I to extend this duty to this case, in my judgment, any form of distraction could potentially serve as the basis of a liability case," Rand said.