Linda and David Kubert, who each lost a leg in a 2009 accident caused in part, apparently, by Kyle Best — whose truck hit their motorcycle — being distracted by a series of text messages being sent to him by his girlfriend, Shannon Colonna, have received a $500,000 settlement from Best (the maximum his insurance policy would pay).
The case made the news earlier this year when the Kuberts’ attorney tried to add Colonna as a defendant, claiming she was partly responsible for the accident because she was texting Best when she knew he was driving. A judge ruled against that attempt back in May, but the Kuberts are appealing the decision.
May 25, 2012: The Right Ruling for the Wrongest Possible Reason
A judge ruled today that Shannon Colonna, the woman who was texting to her boyfriend while he was driving, can’t be sued along with her boyfriend over the accident he caused.
While I agree that Shannon Colonna should not have been held liable for the accident, Superior Court Judge David Rand’s reasoning baffles me: he explained that Colonna had no control over when Best read his messages.
Well, while this is technically true, this wasn’t a case of Colonna sending a single message that Best might or might not have read while driving: they’d been exchanging a series of texts. If you send one message to a driver and he reads it while driving and responds, and then you send a second message to the driver and he reads it while driving and responds, and then you send a third message to the driver and he reads it while driving and responds, then you can assume with near certainty that your action (sending a fourth message) will cause him to read the message while he’s driving.
May 11, 2012: Texting While Driving Leads to a Serious Accident: Should the person who SENT the text to the driver be held partially responsible?
Texting while driving is illegal in New Jersey (quite incredibly it’s not illegal in all states, but that’s a matter for another day), and that’s what Kyle Best was doing three years ago when he ran into David and Linda Kubert’s motorcycle. The accident cost the married couple their left legs, and Best was sentenced to pay $775 in fines and lecture high school students about the dangers of texting while driving.
Not much of a punishment, all things considered, but that again is a matter for another day.
The Kuberts are suing Best, not surprisingly; but they’re also suing Shannon Colonna, Best’s friend, who texted him even though she knew he was driving at the time
© 2012 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.