Judge: Suit Filed in Deadly Distracted Driver Case May Proceed

A Pennsylvania car accident lawyer notes a lawsuit filed against an alleged distracted driver and two people who were texting her at the time of a deadly crash may proceed. The judge ruled that the two men who are accused of texting the driver may be included with the driver as defendants. In addition to criminal charges, people who text and drive may be liable to the others they harm, and victims of negligence, as well as the families of those killed, may be eligible to recover compensation with the help of a Pennsylvania car accident lawyer.

For more information, contact Attorney Group for Pennsylvania. We offer free, confidential, no obligation consultations. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a case we can connect you with an affiliated Pennsylvania car accident lawyer who can assist you throughout the legal process.

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Report: 2015 Saw 14,810 Pennsylvania Crashes Involving a Distracted Driver

A wrongful death lawsuit that names two people who were texting a distracted driver just before the driver allegedly caused a car accident that killed a motorcyclist can proceed, according to a ruling from a Pennsylvania judge. As newsworks.org reports, the complaint alleges that these parties knew or should have known that the recipient of their messages was texting while at the wheel, which is a violation of state law.  The lawsuit therefore contends that both parties and the driver share responsibility for the fatal accident.

New Jersey considered a similar case two years ago and set a precedent for allowing third parties to be found liable in distracted driving crashes, provided that they knew they were texting someone who was at the wheel. However, no similar cases have previously been allowed to proceed in Pennsylvania. In 2015, 14,810 crashes across Pennsylvania involved a distracted driver, accounting for about 8 percent of all wrecks. And 61 people died as a result of those accidents caused by distracted drivers. The outcome of this one remains to be seen, but a finding for the plaintiffs could offer significant benefits for other victims of distracted driving crashes, the website reported.

Criminal Liability for Texting and Driving Accidents is Different Than Civil Liability

Regardless of the outcome of any criminal action against the driver, the determination of the criminal court is different than any civil case that may be brought against the driver. In a criminal matter, a person is accused of a crime and, if convicted, can be sentenced to jail or probation. Sometimes monetary fines and restitution are imposed on the guilty party.

However, the outcome of a criminal matter is often not relevant to a civil matter that could be brought against the person committing the wrongful act. Under the Pennsylvania anti-texting law, a person who texts while operating a motor vehicle commits a crime, but if that person also injures or kills another person while distracted, he or she may face civil liability in addition to criminal charges.

In a civil case, a person’s actions are not judged on whether they were illegal, but instead on whether they constituted negligence, reckless or malicious behavior, or other fault. If those actions are found to constitute fault, and if those actions caused injury to another person, then the wrongful actor may be held liable to the injured party for the payment of money to compensate for the injuries and other damages caused.

How a Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

Drivers or passengers who are injured in car accidents may be entitled to compensation for damages resulting from their injuries, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages

The families of those killed may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.

If the actions causing injury are malicious or so reckless that intent to harm can be inferred, the responsible party can be liable for punitive damages to punish wrongful conduct and deter similar conduct in the future.

The Time You Have to Pursue a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.

For more information, contact Attorney Group for Pennsylvania. You can fill out the form on this page or contact us by phone or email.

After you contact us, an attorney will follow up to answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.

Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.