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Should a text sender be held liable for an accident?

Last month, this blog highlighted the dangers of texting while driving. Taking your eyes off the road puts your safety, your passengers' safety and other drivers and their passengers' safety at risk. It doesn't matter if you are on I-95 or on a residential street in Wilmington, you should never text and drive.

Now, a lawsuit in a neighboring state is testing whether you can hold someone liable for sending a text to someone who is driving. The topic is sure to spark debate as Delaware and the U.S. as a whole continues to grapple with the problem of distracted driving accidents.

Lawsuit Alleges Sender Should Have Known Recipient Was Driving

The lawsuit stems from a 2013 accident, in which an SUV driver rear-ended a motorcyclist who was slowing down to make a turn. Police found that the SUV driver had opened a text message at the time of the accident.

In addition to seeking compensation from the SUV driver, the lawsuit also names the sender of the message as a defendant, claiming that he should have known the recipient was driving at the time.

The sender's attorney does not dispute that his client sent the message, but argues that he had no idea whether the recipient was driving. Additionally, he argues that even if he knew the recipient was driving, the decision to open the message or wait is solely the driver's.

The attorney also says that if a court were to side with the victim's family, it would mean anyone who ever made a phone call or sent a text would have to make sure the recipient was not driving first. There is no practical way to prove that, he argues.

What Do You Think?

Fatal car accidents caused by distracted driving are so frustrating because they should never occur. However, is there any way for a sender to know for certain that their message's recipient will be driving at the time? What do you think? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

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