Hiring a lawyer is like hiring a hitman. Except it's not against the law. A lawyer's job is to exert your will on your legal opponent – and on the legal system itself. So it should come as no surprise to see this evolution of distracted driving case law: The victims of a traffic accident have filed a lawsuit against both the motorist and the woman he was texting with when he caused the crash, according to the Huffington Post.

Let's just state for the record that we have no horse in this race, which is not unlike any other personal injury suit in which the plaintiff's attorney rounds up anyone and everyone that might be named as a defendant. The difference here, however, is that this is the first time we're aware of someone being accused of being an accomplice to the breaking of distracted driving laws and causing a crash without even being in the car.

The driver, Kyle Best, a 19-year-old at the time of the accident, has already pled guilty to three violations of New Jersey law, including using a mobile phone while driving, careless driving, and leaving his lane, according to the report. Best hit a couple on a motorcycle with his pickup truck, resulting in both the man and woman losing their left legs. At the time, Best was exchanging text messages with Shannon Colonna, according to phone records.

The couple's lawyer is arguing that Colonna knew she was texting Best while he was driving, and that her behavior is no different than if she had been having a conversation with him in the car, according to the report. Her attorney, however, maintains that she can't be liable for the driver's decision to read the text when it was not safe to do so and that she did not realize the dangers of texting while driving. The judge in the case is expected to decide whether Colonna can be included in the suit on May 25, according to the report.

Certainly this case is a complicated one, and could have broad ramifications on distracted driving lawsuits as well as further legislation on the issue. If the plaintiffs' attorney is successful in bringing the texting woman into the suit, we can certainly expect that lawyers in other states which have texting bans will follow their lead.


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  • 99 Comments
      venom
      • 2 Years Ago
      The driver is screwed. b\But I dont think the person he was texting should be held liable unless she was strongly pressuring him beyond some reason where it could be seen that it was a necessity for him to text her back... There is probably like a .0001% chance considering how useless most texts are. People just need to chill out on replying to a text until they come to a stop...Its rather easy.
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @venom
        It makes as much sense as blaming your wife for an accident while you're screaming at each other in the car. Don't laugh...look in your rear view mirror a couple times at a stoplight...amazing what goes on behind you.
      futuramautoblog
      • 2 Years Ago
      While I feel for the victims, but such lawsuit can only be catagorized as 'frivolous'!
      Justin Robertson
      • 2 Years Ago
      The dumbass in the truck should've been paying attention to driving, and sorry for what happened to the motorcyclists but they're also a dumbasses for going after the girl texting the driver. So much wrong in this case.
      g2gfishing1
      • 2 Years Ago
      In situations like this, the couple who lost their legs are only going to get what the 19 year old boy was insured for (depending on the state and level of coverage around 50,000 USD). They can take everything he has, but he is 19 so the simple fact is he probably does not have much and he would be considered a separate entity from his parents. Therefore, the couple would need more money to cover their medical bills as well as gain some kind of compensation. If the 19 year old was rich I doubt we would see such a frivolous addition to an otherwise just lawsuit. People seem to believe suing someone automatically qualifies an individual for millions, but that is not the case. The real tragedy here is 2 people are disabled because of a bad decision and may not ever get enough money to compensate for their injuries.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @g2gfishing1
        [blocked]
      Big Squid
      • 2 Years Ago
      So if someone texts me and says LOL OMG WTF , am I now legally obligated to verify his physical whereabouts and be sure he is not currently in the driver's seat of a moving motor vehicle on a public road before I respond with ROTFLMAO, or I can be held complicit in his legal transgressions. Maybe I should route all texts through my lawyer before answering.
        tump
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Big Squid
        If you're unsure if your recipient is driving, just text him/her and ask ;-) (SEE, IT'S REALLY STUPID.) Lawsuits like this should put the plaintiff in jail for being a douche, missing legs or not.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @tump
          [blocked]
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Big Squid
        I suspect in this case it's a matter of how long the two were texting....
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SloopJohnB
          [blocked]
      Smiley
      • 2 Years Ago
      And this is precisely why we need tort reform. I have lawyers in the family, and friends who are attorneys. They know what I think. They are legal criminals, plain and simple. The entire law system is an artificial job market created by lawyers themselves. Talk about a conflict of interest. Lawyers who make the laws that govern themselves. Through making everything unnecessarily cumbersome they artificially boost the number of lawyers actually needed by leaps and bounds. It's disgusting. The average person may not understand this, but anyone who is in business surely does. I've been sued for these most absurd things. These frivolous claims bog down our court system and slow the wheels of justice for truly important cases. I'm all for prosecutorial immunity, but defense attorneys should themselves be exposed to suit when they file blanket accusations like they have in this case. It's time to turn the sharks against the sharks. This is pathetic. At what point will people be held accountable for their own actions, and not everyone else? At what point will our society understand that the beauty of life is uncertainty, there are inherent risks, and accidents do happen? The more people expect mother goose (government) to ensure we encounter no danger in life, the worse things will get. Wake up people!
        lasertekk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Smiley
        You should have stopped at the artificial job market creation. Special interests and lobbyists have always pushed for legislation that puts their clients in prime positions and created artificial industry and need. This is my biggest gripe on the government-law-business connection.
      Dr. Feelgood
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Time for tort reform.
        Sir Duke
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        Tort reform has nothing to do with this. The driver alone is responsible. Aside from JAIL, each these people should be entitled to 1/3 of his earnings for the rest of HIS life. He now has two dependents.
      Jared Montgomery
      • 2 Years Ago
      The one person accountable here is the phone who decided to look at their phone instead of at the road. Absolutely no one else.
      ChadS
      • 2 Years Ago
      **** like this is why I don't ride a motorcycle.
        suthrn2nr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ChadS
        yea, I wanted a bike, but after seeing what dumb things people (including me) do I'm too afraid of not being protected properly. I will not act like a saint and say Im the most perfect driver in the world.
      anonymous guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Pure bullshit. The person who sent the text can't be held liable for damages. She didn't force the driver to read the text. Maybe they should sue the manufacturer of the phone and the service provider while they are at it.
        sick of stupidity
        • 2 Years Ago
        @anonymous guy
        Agreed...since answering a phone while driving severely impairs the driver (it does) then anyone who has ever called another not knowing if they are in the house, work or car could be liable. Just dumb!
      Derek
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice moderator work here, Spam, comment, spam, comment, spam, comment...as for the article....it's the driver's fault for reading the text....not the senders. A tragedy for the couple on the motorbike.
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