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.