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Car Accidents - Distracted Driver Liability

Robert Karns

Many car accidents are caused by the other vehicle being driven by a distracted driver who is not concentrating on the operation of his car and negligently strikes another car causing injury. There are many forms of distraction that give rise to liability and car accidents including distraction caused by someone smoking, playing with the radio, drinking or eating or both, and most especially, regarding modern technology, talking on the cell phone or worse yet texting. The distracted driver talking on the cell phone or texting that is more into his or her conversation than operating the vehicle causes that driver to be totally distracted and hit the other car and cause the collision and injuries.

This type of distraction, concerning when the distracted driver is on the cell phone or texting, can cause multiple parties to be liable to the innocent victim that is struck by the distracted driver. First of all, the distracted driver is liable to the innocent injured victim for negligently striking the injured person's car as a result of being distracted. Secondly, if someone else owns the car that the distracted driver was operating they are also liable to the injured party for the conduct of the distracted driver causing the collision. Thirdly, if the distracted driver was in the process of making a delivery for someone or doing business for someone when he or she becomes distracted and hits the other vehicle then whoever the distracted driver is doing business for is also liable.

If the driver causing the accident that becomes distracted as a result of being on the cell phone or texting with a business, even if they are not working for that business, under certain circumstances they can make that business liable.

Recently a New Jersey appeals court held that a remote texter can be held liable to third parties for injuries caused when the distracted driver has an accident. In this case not only was the texting driver found liable to the injured party that they struck while distracted, but also the remote texter that was texting with the distracted driver was also found liable. This greatly expands the liability for a car accident against people not even in the car.

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Act (FMCSA) has regulations and rules against tractor trailer drivers talking on the cell phone or texting while operating large tractor trailers.

Many car accidents are caused by distracted drivers and the liability of all applicable parties must be explored.

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