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    Thread: Texter not liable for car crash

    1. 05-26-2012 03:34 PM #1
      Text message sender not liable for causing a crash by the message receiver.

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012...est=latestnews

      MORRISTOWN, N.J. – A woman who texted her boyfriend while he was driving cannot be held liable for a car crash he caused while responding, seriously injuring a motorcycling couple, a judge ruled Friday in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the country.
      A lawyer for the injured couple argued that text messages from Shannon Colonna to Kyle Best played a role in the September 2009 wreck in Mine Hill. But Colonna's lawyer argued she had no control over when or how Best would read and respond to the message.
      State Superior Court Judge David Rand sided with Colonna's lawyer, dismissing claims against the woman in a lawsuit filed by crash victims David and Linda Kubert, who are also suing Best. David Kubert had his left leg torn off above the knee, while his wife eventually had her left leg amputated.
      Stephen Weinstein, the Kuberts' attorney, has argued that Colonna should have known Best was driving and texting her at the time. He argued that while Colonna was not physically present at the wreck, she was "electronically present," and he asked for a jury to decide Colonna's liability in the case.
      But Colonna testified at a deposition she didn't know whether Best was driving at the time.
      Best has pleaded guilty to distracted driving, admitting he was using his cellphone and acknowledging a series of text messages he exchanged with Colonna around the time of the accident; the content of the messages is unknown. Records show Best responded to a text from Colonna seconds before dialing 911.
      Best was ordered to speak to 14 high schools about the dangers of texting and driving and had to pay about $775 in fines, but his driver's license was not suspended.
      Lawyers for Best and Colonna declined to comment after the hearing, and neither couple was in court.
      Weinstein said Friday the Kuberts are disappointed with the decision and an appeal will be filed, but the couple is hopeful the attention the case has drawn will lead to change.
      "Even though the case against Shannon Colonna has been dismissed, they are gratified that if by bringing the case they have accomplished the goal of making people think before they text, whether while driving or while the recipient is driving," he said.
      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.
      But Rand stressed his decision shouldn't be read as minimizing the need for attentiveness while driving, and he said Americans have become "almost addicted" to wireless communication.
      "That is the reality of today's world," he said.
      Weinstein hopes for proceedings to move forward within the next several months.

    2. Member Spiller337's Avatar
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      05-26-2012 03:37 PM #2
      As it should be. That case was
      Last edited by Spiller337; 05-26-2012 at 03:40 PM.
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    3. 05-26-2012 03:56 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by Spiller337 View Post
      As it should be. That case was
      Not only that, but the plaintiff (the individual and the lawyer) should have to pay for wasting everyones time.
      Last edited by dtrain88; 05-26-2012 at 06:14 PM.

    4. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      05-26-2012 04:00 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by dtrain88 View Post
      Not only that, but the prosecutor (the individual and the lawyer) should have to pay for wasting everyones time.
      You mean plaintiff?


      And simply sending a text does not force the recipient to read it THAT SECOND.
      Just like making a phone call- the driver can ignore the ringing phone.

      And fwiw- it is common practice to sue anybody even remotely involved for damages (looking for pockets with actual cash in them).
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      05-26-2012 06:03 PM #5
      I agree with this outcome, it was all faintly absurd to begin with. The responsibility lies with the driver to wait until he's not operating a car to check his text messages.

      However the fact that he didn't lose his license bothers me. This wasn't a matter of a tragic accident caused by unstoppable circumstances. The guy was doing something stupid, ignorant, and illegal, and caused two people to nearly be killed, and at best are going to be crippled for the rest of their lives. And yeah I'm sure there will be a civil case and he will end up having to pay these people a lot of money, but he should lose his license too. They need to make examples to show this goddamned texting while driving idiocy won't be tolerated.
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    6. 05-26-2012 06:17 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      You mean plaintiff?
      yes, sorry I wasn't thinking properly. Living in Tennessee the last couple months has impaired my ability to think

    7. 05-26-2012 08:04 PM #7
      But Colonna testified at a deposition she didn't know whether Best was driving at the time

      I think that if there is proof you knew someone was driving and that they would likely respond, liability is not all that far fetched. I don't think this will be the last time that this kind of lawsuit will surface.

      opinion of "almost-a-lawyer-but-still-has-to-pass-stupid-poopid-CA-bar-in-July"

    8. Geriatric Member BRealistic's Avatar
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      05-26-2012 08:08 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Bonanza View Post
      But Colonna testified at a deposition she didn't know whether Best was driving at the time

      I think that if there is proof you knew someone was driving and that they would likely respond, liability is not all that far fetched. I don't think this will be the last time that this kind of lawsuit will surface.

      opinion of "almost-a-lawyer-but-still-has-to-pass-stupid-poopid-CA-bar-in-July"
      The driver might have been stopped at a red-light.... the only person that really knows if they are able to safely read a text or answer a phone call is the driver.
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    9. 05-26-2012 09:26 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Bonanza View Post
      But Colonna testified at a deposition she didn't know whether Best was driving at the time

      I think that if there is proof you knew someone was driving and that they would likely respond, liability is not all that far fetched. I don't think this will be the last time that this kind of lawsuit will surface.

      opinion of "almost-a-lawyer-but-still-has-to-pass-stupid-poopid-CA-bar-in-July"
      Sure, and if I'm ever involved in a wreck near a billboard I'll just sue the advertiser and billboard company for putting up a distracting advertisement

    10. Banned seadoo2006's Avatar
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      05-26-2012 10:21 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by kraut_pauer79 View Post
      I agree with this outcome, it was all faintly absurd to begin with. The responsibility lies with the driver to wait until he's not operating a car to check his text messages.

      However the fact that he didn't lose his license bothers me. This wasn't a matter of a tragic accident caused by unstoppable circumstances. The guy was doing something stupid, ignorant, and illegal, and caused two people to nearly be killed, and at best are going to be crippled for the rest of their lives. And yeah I'm sure there will be a civil case and he will end up having to pay these people a lot of money, but he should lose his license too. They need to make examples to show this goddamned texting while driving idiocy won't be tolerated.
      Are you aware that the ENTIRETY of distracted driving accidents only account for about 20-30% of all accidents and that cell phone use only comprises a minority of accidents within that subgroup, and that texting only accounts for a small number within THAT subgroup.

      So, like I've said before, since children in the car, talking to a passenger, changing a radio station, eating, drinking a non-alcholic beverage, messing with a GPS, and messing with an MP3 player all account for more accidents than texting, that we should be concentrating on making examples of THOSE people first.

      I'm all for stopping people from driving unsafe, but going after something that accounts for less than 3% of all accidents (Ohio State Highway Patrol Study), as if it's the next great big killer, is misinformed and ignorant.

      I think the next person that sideswipes me in a roundabout or a double-left-turn intersection should be made an example of.

      Shiat happens, move on, all you make yourself look like is a misinformed ignoramus trying to be the face of moral superiority. Let's ban alcohol too since it's the #1 killer of people on our roads. Afterall, we should make examples of those people right? Let's install breathalyzer interlocks on all cars to prevent these people from driving .. I'm sure you'd be in favor of that, too? How about a zero tolerance drinking policy ... 0.04% BAC (1/2 the limit currently) has been proven to be dangerous level in some people. We should make that the new level.

      Now doesn't that sound a bit over reactionary? Well, so does your last post ...

      /PS ... I'll keep texting and driving as much as my merry fingers will allow ...

    11. Member kraut_pauer79's Avatar
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      05-26-2012 11:46 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by seadoo2006 View Post
      Are you aware that the ENTIRETY of distracted driving accidents only account for about 20-30% of all accidents and that cell phone use only comprises a minority of accidents within that subgroup, and that texting only accounts for a small number within THAT subgroup.

      So, like I've said before, since children in the car, talking to a passenger, changing a radio station, eating, drinking a non-alcholic beverage, messing with a GPS, and messing with an MP3 player all account for more accidents than texting, that we should be concentrating on making examples of THOSE people first.

      I'm all for stopping people from driving unsafe, but going after something that accounts for less than 3% of all accidents (Ohio State Highway Patrol Study), as if it's the next great big killer, is misinformed and ignorant.

      I think the next person that sideswipes me in a roundabout or a double-left-turn intersection should be made an example of.

      Shiat happens, move on, all you make yourself look like is a misinformed ignoramus trying to be the face of moral superiority. Let's ban alcohol too since it's the #1 killer of people on our roads. Afterall, we should make examples of those people right? Let's install breathalyzer interlocks on all cars to prevent these people from driving .. I'm sure you'd be in favor of that, too? How about a zero tolerance drinking policy ... 0.04% BAC (1/2 the limit currently) has been proven to be dangerous level in some people. We should make that the new level.

      Now doesn't that sound a bit over reactionary? Well, so does your last post ...

      /PS ... I'll keep texting and driving as much as my merry fingers will allow ...
      Good for you, keep spewing statistics like an ass and hiding behind them as your rationalization for not doing what's right and not having to make any effort to discern between right and wrong. This attitude is a huge part of what's wrong with society today.

      Texting while driving isn't the same kind of "distracted driving" as talking on the phone or having passengers in your car. You can keep your eyes on the road the entire time for either of those. So don't try and lump all of those in together as "distracted driving".

      You aren't some untouchable gladiator of the road who is above being able to cause an accident from taking your eyes off the road for too long. Maybe the next accident you're in will knock your head out of your ass, but I won't hold my breath.
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    12. 05-26-2012 11:48 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by seadoo2006 View Post
      Are you aware that the ENTIRETY of distracted driving accidents only account for about 20-30% of all accidents and that cell phone use only comprises a minority of accidents within that subgroup, and that texting only accounts for a small number within THAT subgroup.

      So, like I've said before, since children in the car, talking to a passenger, changing a radio station, eating, drinking a non-alcholic beverage, messing with a GPS, and messing with an MP3 player all account for more accidents than texting, that we should be concentrating on making examples of THOSE people first.

      I'm all for stopping people from driving unsafe, but going after something that accounts for less than 3% of all accidents (Ohio State Highway Patrol Study), as if it's the next great big killer, is misinformed and ignorant.

      I think the next person that sideswipes me in a roundabout or a double-left-turn intersection should be made an example of.

      Shiat happens, move on, all you make yourself look like is a misinformed ignoramus trying to be the face of moral superiority. Let's ban alcohol too since it's the #1 killer of people on our roads. Afterall, we should make examples of those people right? Let's install breathalyzer interlocks on all cars to prevent these people from driving .. I'm sure you'd be in favor of that, too? How about a zero tolerance drinking policy ... 0.04% BAC (1/2 the limit currently) has been proven to be dangerous level in some people. We should make that the new level.

      Now doesn't that sound a bit over reactionary? Well, so does your last post ...

      /PS ... I'll keep texting and driving as much as my merry fingers will allow ...

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      05-26-2012 11:51 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Spiller337 View Post
      As it should be. That case was
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    14. 05-27-2012 12:00 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by dtrain88 View Post
      Sure, and if I'm ever involved in a wreck near a billboard I'll just sue the advertiser and billboard company for putting up a distracting advertisement
      I'm not saying it will win, just saying that put in front of theoretical juries, I'm sure some of them might find that a person texting someone they know is driving, and they know will likely respond, would be putting the driver/others on the road at an unreasonable risk of harm.

      There are negligence theories far crazier than this that have won in the past.


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      05-27-2012 01:51 AM #15
      They need to start disbarring lawyers for filing **** like this.

    16. 05-27-2012 02:29 AM #16
      More of this is coming as texting while driving is the newest bloodthirst in this country. It now has a seat at the big boy table with racism, sexism, drunk driving, pedophilia, and animal abuse.

      I will also state that anyone who agrees with this ruling obviously loves texting while driving and hates children. Her next victim could be a school bus full of innocent kids, so I'm appalled at anyone who supports her getting away with this.

    17. 05-27-2012 07:28 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Ernie McCracken View Post
      More of this is coming as texting while driving is the newest bloodthirst in this country. It now has a seat at the big boy table with racism, sexism, drunk driving, pedophilia, and animal abuse.

      I will also state that anyone who agrees with this ruling obviously loves texting while driving and hates children. Her next victim could be a school bus full of innocent kids, so I'm appalled at anyone who supports her getting away with this.
      Was this supposed to be sarcasm? If so, it didn't go over so well.

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      05-27-2012 08:50 AM #18
      Translation: This woman had far deeper pockets than the idiot on the receiving end. I can think of no other explanation.
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      05-27-2012 09:56 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by TJSwoboda View Post
      Translation: This woman had far deeper pockets than the idiot on the receiving end. I can think of no other explanation.
      That was my thought as well.
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