Texting and driving lawsuit targets more than just the recipient - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Texting and driving lawsuit targets more than just the recipient

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The results of a recent texting and driving court case has some people questioning the unusual outcome. 

Texas laws, and local county bans are designed to keep people off their phones while behind the wheel, but a court case in New Jersey may have people thinking twice before sending a message.

Three lawyers in New Jersey, contended in a recent  lawsuit, that if you text a driver knowing he or she is behind the wheel, you may be responsible if the driver gets in a wreck while reading it.

We spoke with local attorney Adam Tisdell to help further explain the incident. 

"What they did is sue the person that sent the text under a negligence theory that she was negligent for sending a person driving a text message," Tisdell said.

In this case, the girl who sent that message was not found liable because the court could not prove that she knew she was texting him while he was driving.

But Tisdell said the court did come to one conclusion.

"What they decided is, if you knowingly send a text to someone you know is driving and you know they are going to look at their phone and respond, then potentially you can be liable under that circumstance."

As a result, Tisdell says this case may have created a new way for people to file a texting and driving lawsuit. 

"There's going to be quite a bit of attorneys that are looking at potential ways of making their client more money that are going to try this in our state. There will be one of these lawsuits within 6 months in Texas," he said.

We reached out to the public to hear what they had to say about this case and the response we got was pretty unanimous.

One resident said, "I think it would be difficult to prove that that person knew that person was driving. I don't think that's very fare."

Another local said, "I really don't think you can hold somebody liable for that because cell phones are everywhere and it's something you can't really stop."

And a third told us she thinks, "this country always has someone else trying to blame someone else or make someone else take responsibility for someone else's actions."

Attorney Tisdell says he thinks the chances of proving and winning a lawsuit like this would be very hard to do.
     
Colleen Nelson - NewsChannel 10.

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