Are You Liable if You Text/Call Someone Who is Driving? Maybe!


Last year in a case in New Jersey (Kubert v. Best) in which a plaintiff who had been injured by a driver who was distracted by a text message, the Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court decided that a person who sends a text to a driver can be liable but only if the texter knew that the recipient was driving and likely to read the text message while driving. So logically, would that case extend to cover phone calls (as opposed to “texts”)?” The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reported (10/13/2014) that the estate of a woman who died in a car accident has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against a man who called the cellphone of the driver involved in the accident. The case is named Hope Farney v. Matthew Geerdes, et al.
Farley has alleged that the caller knew the call’s recipient was driving and that it would provide a distraction from the road. The defendant has moved to dismiss the case, arguing the complaint failed to allege a recognizable duty against him and failed to allege the negligent conduct was a proximate cause of the accident.