Free Consultation | No Fee Until We Win
Se Habla Español

Are text senders responsible for distracted driving accidents?

Imagine the last time you sent a text to someone. Before you hit "send," did you think about what the person on the other end might have been doing at the time?

If you answered "no," you are likely not alone. Even if you were curious about what the recipient was doing at the time of your text, it likely wouldn't have affected whether you sent it.

However, a few cases have popped up across the country in which text message senders have been named in car accident lawsuits.

To text or not to text: How do you know?

While none of the cases are in California, they are raising interesting questions nationwide about the role of text senders in distracted driving accidents.

The first question revolves around when it is appropriate to send a text. If you know the recipient is driving, should you wait to send the message?

One appellate court ruled that you should. The court stated that individuals have a duty to not distract someone they know is driving by sending a text. The same court stated that if you even have reason to believe a recipient is driving, you should not send the text.

Of course, this brings up the common scenario that not every sender knows what the recipient is doing at the time of a text. Should you wait until you know for certain what the recipient is doing? How do you find out without contacting them in some way? For now, it seems courts would not favor holding unknowing senders accountable in such situations.

Who is responsible?

Even if the sender of a text knew that the recipient was driving, the question still remains: Is the sender responsible for creating a distraction that led to a crash? Or is the recipient responsible for checking their phone while driving? Or is it both?

The appellate court mentioned above ruled that both can be responsible. However, there are very few cases at this point in time to support this idea.

Attributing liability for a crash to the sender of a text is a relatively new concept. It will be interesting to see if it becomes a more widely used practice.

What do you think? Should the sender of a text be held responsible for an accident?

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Avvo | Top Attorney Personal Injury
Avvo | Clients Choice 2012

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

To schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys, call 916-596-2761 or contact us by email.

  • Home and weekend appointments are available.
  • We handle cases on a contingency basis, which means you do not pay us until we win.
  • Se habla español.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy


Piering Law Firm
775 University Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95825

Phone: 916-596-2761
Fax: 916-446-1222
Sacramento Law Office Map

Map and Directions
Review Us