A New Jersey appellate court recently held that a person who texts a driver who is then involved in an accident may be liable for the injuries and damages caused. The sender of a text message can potentially be liable if (s)he knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.
A couple riding a motorcycle was injured in an accident with an 18-year old driver texting with his 17-year old girlfriend. Distracted by the texts, the young man's truck drifted into oncoming traffic.
The court's opinion should cause employers concern. Do you do business with a person who is well-known for cell phone use while driving? Do co-workers text that employee? Do you ever contract with a company to make deliveries? Just after the runner leaves, do you text him/her with additional instructions? Or is one of your employees flirting with someone with whom you do business? Can you imagine a scenario where your employee, in the scope of employment, texts a person who is distracted by the the phone and is involved in an accident? It isn't difficult to think of a circumstance where a business could incur liability for texting a driver.