Unless it involves a celebrity, car crashes rarely make it outside the local news cycle. Unpredictably, a fairly common car crash, taking place in 2009, managed to make national headlines this past month. CBS News reports that the accident involved a then 18-year-old male who crashed into two motorcycle riders while texting his girlfriend. The motorcycle riders each lost a leg from the accident.
The driver pleaded guilty to the traffic violations, and was fined and ordered to talk at numerous schools about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. This clear-cut case of driver negligence made its way into the national news as a result of the damages lawsuit, filed against both the driver and his girlfriend. The lawsuit claimed that the girlfriend was “electronically present” and thus also responsible for the accident.
When the case first made headlines, our Chicago car accident lawyers looked into the various liability issues associated with texting and driving. Now, the case has been decided, with the judge dismissing the girlfriend from the damages suit. According to the same CBS News story, the judge said that holding the girlfriend responsible for her electronic presence was unreasonable and would lay the foundation for lawsuits based on any number of distractions inherent in driving. Other arguments were made against the ability of the “electronically present” to know the receiver’s situation before sending the text to them.
As is the case with all those involved in car accidents, there are no winners. Financial, medical, and emotional damages amass; and lives are often lost. The same holds true for this particular incident. However, our Chicago car accident attorneys always try to find a silver lining, whether it is found in the defense of someone who suffered at the hands of negligent driver, or simply in looking at a tragic story and learning from it.
In this case, there is a tremendous awareness and learning opportunity. Any Chicago car accident lawyer will tell you that car accidents are something that the people involved in remember, and when a story like this is highlighted at the national level there is a chance for people to learn from the events that transpired. The issue of distracted driving and the negligence arising from the use of cell phones is clearly highlighted. The importance of motorcycle rider safety, another timely issue, is getting well-deserved as well.
This car crash also raises awareness of the possible legal actions and rights available to those who suffer the consequences of another driver’s negligence. If you or someone you know is injured or killed in a situation such as this, you can contact our team of experienced Chicago car crash lawyers to find out what legal rights may be available to you.