Send a driver a text? You could be sued for crash

You know not to text and drive. But what about texting someone behind the wheel?

The courts could find you partly responsible if your message distracts a driver who then gets into an accident.

7News talked to Spartanburg Attorney Ken Anthony about how lawyers can use a driver’s cell phone against you.

“One of the first things you do in any wreck case is get the cell phone records.” Anthony said. “There’s no way to prevent the phone or the phone records from being obtained if the other side wants it.”

Now, it’s not just the distracted drivers who are being sued for texts that cause crashes… it’s the people texting them.

“Any time you communicate with somebody that you know is driving a vehicle you’re exposing yourself to liability.” Anthony said.

Right now, a Pennsylvania court is allowing a man to sue a text-sender for “aiding and abetting” a driver who violated the state’s distracted driving laws.

A similar suit in New Jersey in 2012 did not lead to a conviction, but that doesn’t mean more lawyers aren’t trying.

We talked with Dorothy Lambert, who doesn’t think this is fair.

“That’s ridiculous I think to charge somebody at home who’s maybe just checking in on their child or something like that you know to be charged if an accident happened.” said Lambert.

Calvin Pulley, on the other hand, lost a friend to texting and driving.

“If they know then I think they should be held responsible because if you really care about that person who is driving the car, you’re not going to let them text and drive.” said Pulley.

Keep in mind, even for something like talking while driving, which is legal in South Carolina, attorneys could still go after you.

If you knowingly distract someone while driving and they get into an accident, you could be held partially responsible.

So whether you’re behind the wheel, or know someone who is, be forewarned before you press send.

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