There is an interesting personal injury case pending in New Jersey that highlights an interesting question about responsible use of SMS technology. A guy allegedly hit a motorcycle, severely injuring its two riders, because he was distracted by a text his girlfriend had sent. The motorcycle riders sued the girlfriend who sent the text.
Even the plaintiffs’ lawyer admits (in this interview) that most people would not be willing to pin responsibility on someone who was not present to cause an accident and injury. But because of the unique facts, namely, that she apparently knew her boyfriend was driving, she became “electronically present” with him in the vehicle.
One of the things the plaintiffs will have to show is that the text proximately caused the accident. In New Jersey, the jury (if the case gets that far) will be asked to find whether the plaintiffs’ injuries are so connected with the negligent actions of the girlfriend that it is reasonable to hold her responsible. Answering that will require the jury to examine whether it was foreseeable that her sending the text would cause that wreck.
What do you think?