Lawmakers across the country are looking for more ways to crack down on dangerous 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 effective?
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.