You Be the Judge: Can You Be Sued for Texting a Driver?

Oct 18, 2019 | Allen A. Ritchie

Courtesy: truckdrivingjobs.com

This is a real case – I’ll give you the verdict in a minute.

Here are the facts:

A truck driver was texting with his girlfriend. There were so many texts back and forth that the trucker failed to control his rig, and it drifted across the dividing line. He hit a couple on a motorcycle, and both the motorcycle driver and his rider lost their left legs.

The truck driver admitted fault and settled before trial.

However, the motorcycle couple’s attorney sued the truck driver’s girlfriend who was texting the driver. The lawyer argued that she knew he was driving and therefore contributed to the accident.


The injured couple’s lawyer argued that the texter was “electronically in the car” and should be treated like anyone sitting in the car and distracting the driver.

The girlfriend’s attorney said there was no way she knew if he was actually driving or when he would read the texts.

You be the judge:

What do you think? Should the texter have to pay for damages to the motorcycle couple?


On appeal, a 3-judge panel said the texting girlfriend could be sued but “only if the sender knew …  that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.” The burden is now on the injured couple’s attorney to prove the girlfriend knew.

This case took place in New Jersey, but courts often look at similar cases when making a ruling. This could easily become case law in Alabama.

If you suffer an injury, such as a traffic accident, slip and fall or injury from a faulty product, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet.

Also join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30 right after the news. We do a short show on tape during the football season but will take your calls live again after the first of the year.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama personal injury lawyer