Text Message Sender Brought into Texting While Driving Lawsuit
When Kyle Best, 19, sideswiped David and Linda Kubert while they were riding motorcycles in New Jersey in 2009, both motorcyclists lost their left legs. Best was texting while driving, and his inattention caused the terrible accident. Now, the Kuberts are trying to bring Shannon Colonna into the lawsuit. Colonna was not present during the crash, but she was the friend Best was exchanging text messages with when he caused the collision.Text Message Sender in Lawsuit
The Kuberts hired attorney Stephen Weinstein to pursue a personal injury claim against Best’s insurance company to obtain financial compensation for their injuries. According to Weinstein, Colonna knew that Best was driving while they exchanged text messages, and she is partly responsible for the Kuberts’ traumatic injuries. Colonna’s lawyer said that she did not have any way of knowing when and where Best was going to read or answer her text messages to him.
While Best did not lose his license as a result of the crash, he was charged with using a hand-held cell phone while driving, careless driving, and failure to maintain a lane. He had to pay $775 in fines, as well as speak to 14 high schools about the dangers of texting and driving.
After the accident, the Kuberts spoke out about the dangers of texting and driving. “There have to be stricter penalties,” David Kubert told a local newspaper. “That’s the only thing that’s going to stop it.”
This is a very tragic story. The Kuberts’ lives were drastically changed as a result of this accident. I can certainly understand their desire to obtain monetary compensation for their medical bills and pain and suffering. Anyone who is injured as a result of another person’s negligence deserves that. However, the claim against Colonna seems tenuous at best. Depending on the actual contents of the text messages themselves, it may be impossible for a jury to determine whether or not Colonna knew Best was driving, and if she did know, if she has any responsibility for the accident.
This case raises interesting questions about the responsibility of all parties involved in an incident like this, and it will be interesting to see the judge’s ruling on Colonna’s involvement. Even if she is not held legally liable, I think it’s important to recognize the significant risk of knowingly exchanging text messages with someone who is driving. If the circumstances had been different, Best could have been injured or killed, and Colonna would have lost a friend due to texting and driving. It is up to all of us to be responsible when we’re on the roads.
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