Lawmakers across the country are looking for more ways to crack down on
texting while driving behaviors. In addition to holding the driver responsible for any
car accidents they cause while reading or writing a text, legal changes could also put
liability on the shoulders of the person who
sent the text to them. It is an interesting notion but would it be entirely
KOIN6 news interviewed Portland Personal Injury Attorney Patrick Angel of Angel
Law, P.C. for some insight on these potential changes. He was asked to
review some car accident cases recently closed on the east coast. In particular,
one case in New Jersey stated that the sender could be held liable if
they had ample reasoning to know that the recipient of the text was driving
and would likely read it while they were still behind the wheel.
Patrick Angel was quoted as saying, “We realize it’s going
to be hard to get verdicts evidence, but it’s a message […]”
To this end, the laws would act more as an upfront deterrent to holding
conversations while driving and less as a courtroom finality. However,
plaintiff attorneys can request cellphone data records for their cases,
which can show who was texting what and when. Such evidence could be combined
with the proposed laws to bring liability to more people after an accident,
increasing the chances of a successful case for the plaintiffs.
Just How Dangerous is Texting & Driving?
In the same KOIN6 article – which can be viewed by
clicking here – Lieutenant Prater of Tigard Police Department, just southwest
of Portland, was asked about the dangers of texting and driving. He stated
that it was a common problem the police force saw with increasing frequency.
People do not realize that looking down for just 4 or 5 seconds to read
a new message can be enough time for their car to travel the length of
a football field, essentially with their eyes closed. At highway speeds,
all it takes is one mistake to cause a devastating accident.
If you would like to know more about how texting and driving laws can apply
to a car accident case, or if you were hurt by a distracted driver, call
503.862.8666 to schedule a
free consultation with Angel Law, P.C. Our Portland car accident attorney can hear your
claim at no risk or obligation to you, and let you know if you have grounds
for a lawsuit.