Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Torting For Texts

Every new advance in technology, sooner or later, opens opportunity for those wise enough to envision it.

And those slimey enough to seek the lowest money sucking opportunity from it.

There's been plenty in the news about accidents wherein the driver was distracted by texting at the time.  Granted, today's kids are born texting.  They may even be tweeting from the womb.  But for those who argue that they aren't distracted when texting while driving -- like the schmuck who almost head-on'd me on my way home one morning because he was looking down, texting, instead of noticing he was crossing the centerline on the two lane road -- your argument does a face plant at conception. 

Nonetheless, the 'texting genie' is out of the bottle, and not even Larry Hagman can put her back.

Some of you might know what I just did there. 

Anyway, some states have laws against texting while driving.   But now...a person on the other end of the text conversation gets to join the party.  No, not the texting party:  the legal liability party. For all you texters out there, you're now on notice:  you too, may be sued for being "electronically present" and thereby contributory to an accident.

From ABC News and other dubious sources:

A New Jersey judge will rule this month whether a woman who sent a text message to the driver of a pick-up truck is partially liable for his subsequent crash into a couple riding a motorcycle.

The case stems from a 2009 accident when a then 19-year-old Kyle Best got into an accident while texting. Best was driving his pick-up truck and replying to a text he had just received from Shannon Colonna when his vehicle drifted into opposing traffic and slammed into David and Linda Kubert’s motorcycle.

After initially bringing a suit against Best for his role in the accident, the Kuberts’ lawyer, Stephen Weinstein, expanded the  complaint to include Colonna as well.

 Is this crank for real?  Apparently, he thinks he is.  And here's his logic:

“We have come to the conclusion that Colonna knew or should have known that there was the chance that he was driving because she knew his schedule,” Weinstein told The Daily.

Weinstein said evidence sugge
sts the young couple were together for three hours before he left for work as a swimming instructor and he texted her the minute he finished work.

“Within seconds she texted back, he texted her back within seconds and that’s when the accident occurred,” Weinstein said.

“She knew what time he was finishing work. She was not physically present in the car but she was electronically present. To me that’s the pivotal point.”

"Electronically present".  Have a cell phone, iphone or blackberry?  Hell, even a lap or desktop PC with a chat program!  You, too, can become a contributory factor to an accident and thereby liable, by messaging someone who's doing something that you should have known that they were doing, and you distracted them with your "electronic presence"!

I don't expect it'll be long before manufacturers of these 'wonder devices -- Apple, Dell, Gateway, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Samsung, T-Mobile, Verizon, Motorola, et al -- get class actioned.  And a new psychosis -- like "electronicus presenti inhibitus attentionosis" -- becomes the newest fad malady for Dr. Phil (of it) and Co.  And new rehabilitation clinics with twelve step programs, marketed by slick new twists on old themes  ("Just NO Text") will proliferate in the more trendy, liberal bastions. 

While in Hicksville, a redneck therapist's cure will be as simple as "gimme that thang...*BWANG*...y'all's danged fool yankee problum h'yar is rektumfied".

So while we travel down the "what I dun is the fault of someone else h'yar" libtard road, what I anticipate seeing next:  a person buys something that somehow injures a third party.  While the third party sues the buyer, the seller, the manufacturer and Dubya, the person who bought it in the first place's lawyer will sue every one who entered the store between the time that the item was stocked on the shelf, and the time that his/her/its client bought it, because their beforehand *purchasing presence* didn't buy the thing before the lawyer's client did, making them responsible for failure to exercise their beforehand *purchasing presence*.

I know a couple of attorneys who'll laugh (or wince) at this, but would never be a part of it.  Sadly, a number of their 'lower than Washington Post fauxnalism writers/editors/et al' brethren would jump at the chance.

And will.

And you were gonna text what to whom?

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Blogger Shrinky said...

Well, um, speaking as someone who's never sent a text in her life.. I do hear what you say, and can't help but to shudder at the increasingly litigious culture that's grown up around us - HOWEVER, I've no problem with folk on the other end of a call (not text, that's taking it too far even for me) being prosecuted for aiding and abetting someone to chat as they drive.

You can instantly tell the voice difference between hands free and a cell phone, I sure can. If I call someone who's driving I END THE CALL, 'cos being the crappy driver I already am, and knowing I can't chat and drive without running off the road, there's no way I'd risk distracting anyone else to do the same. Yup, I'd be all for prosecuting both parties there (I have kids crossing those roads they drive down)..!

17 May, 2012 04:12  
Blogger Right Truth said...

I heard about this and it really sounds nuts. How can they blame a person who SENT a text? The guy did not have to answer, read, respond to the text. Can you imagine the consequences of this type of ruling?

Right Truth

17 May, 2012 19:06  

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