A woman who repeatedly text her boyfriend as he drove could be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit pending in New Jersey. David and Linda Kubert of Dover, New Jersey sustained serious injuries when Kyle Best hit their motorcycle head on with his pickup truck after crossing over the center line. The Kuberts amended their lawsuit and added Best’s girlfriend, Shannon Colonna, to their existing personal injury lawsuit against Best. The basis of the amendment was they accused her of contributing to her boyfriend’s negligence in the collision, despite not being with him in the car.
During the discovery phase of the lawsuit subpoenaed records from the cell phone provider documented that Best and Colonna exchanged more than twenty-four (24) texts on the day of the crash.
Under Arizona law, in order for Colonna to be liable she would have to be found to be the proximate cause of the collision. Revised Arizona Jury Instructions (Civil) defines causation as follows:
“Before you can find any party [person] at fault, you must find that the party’s [person’s] negligence was the cause of Plaintiff’s injury. Negligence causes an injury if it helps produce the injury, and if the injury would not have happened without the negligence. “
In Arizona a motion to dismiss would be granted on the basis that the girlfriend’s sending of text messages was not a proximate cause of the crash. The driver’s distraction in either reading or sending text messages was a proximate cause of the crash, distracting him and causing him to cross over and strike the injured parties head on.