After losing their legs in an unfortunate traffic accident, a New Jersey couple is seeking legal retribution against the motorist and the women he was texting before he crashed, reports the Huffington Post.
The accident occurred back in 2009 when Kyle Best, who was 19 years old at the time, replied to a text sent from Shannon Colonna. Best was behind the wheel of his truck when he drifted into oncoming traffic while texting — slamming into David and Linda Kubert’s motorcycle in the process. The couple suffered severe injuries and both lost their left legs as a result of Best’s negligence.
According to the report, Best has already pleaded guilty to three violations of New Jersey law, including using a mobile phone while driving, careless driving, and failure to maintain a lane. His punishment so far has included $775 in fines and to undergo community service by speaking at 14 high schools in regards to the dangers of texting and driving.
In addition to their claim against Best, the Kuberts have also sought legal retribution against Colonna who was texting Best moments prior to the accident.
But why charge Colonna when she wasn’t directly involved in the accident or even in the car? The couple’s attorney argue that Colonna was aware she was texting Best while he was driving, and that while she may not have been physically present, she was in fact “electronically” present and thus bears partial responsibility.
Of course Colonna’s lawyer argues to the contrary, that any charges against Colonna are not only ridiculous, but unfounded and that she cannot be held responsible for Best’s decisions while behind the wheel. Moreover, he has argued that Colonna was fundamentally unaware of Best’s decision to read the text while it was unsafe to do so.
The judge overseeing the case is expecting to make his final ruling on whether or not Colonna will be included in the suit on May 25.
Currently, texting while operating a motor vehicle is illegal in 38 states. This case however may spark a widespread legal precedent and determine the ramifications, if any, texting someone while they’re driving may carry. In addition, because of the Kuberts’ lawsuit, we could very well witness more robust legislation regarding distracted driving laws. As it stands now, there is no court ruling establishing any degree of fault for sending a text message where a recipient causes injury while reading said message, but that just might be changing soon.
What do you think? Did Colonna play a role in distracting Best and should she be held legally responsible? Why? Why not? Sound off in the comments section below:
[Image credit: Shutterstock/Marquis]
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