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Dallas W. Hartman, PC lands landmark decision in distracted driving case

Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas, New Castle, PA extends liability to persons sending texts to drivers which results in distracted driving collisions.

Ten percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2013 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.

In 2013, there were 3,154 people killed and an estimated additional 424,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

A New Castle motorcycle rider was one of the people killed in 2013 by a woman that was texting while driving. The woman was distracted by a text message on her cellular phone and collided with the motorcycle as he was waiting to make a left turn, pinning the victim underneath her vehicle and dragging him 100 feet.

Attorney Douglas J. Olcott, on behalf of the victim’s family, brought suit against the woman that was texting while driving and the person she was texting with. In a Court Opinion written by Judge John W. Hodge, Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, Judge Hodge allowed the suit to continue against both the woman driver who was reading a text and the man that she was texting with.

The Court acknowledged that bringing suit against the sender of the text is an issue of the first impression and stated that “the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.” The court notes that if an actor knew or should have known that the recipient of their messages was driving, and would likely be distracted by a text message, they may be liable for recklessly endangering others.

Additionally, the car and motorcycle accident lawyers at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C., in conjunction with the family of the victim of this tragic motorcycle accident, support “Daniel’s Law.” Daniel’s Law is named after the victim of this accident and is currently being pursued in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as House Bill 853. The law, if passed, will adopt stricter texting while driving laws in Pennsylvania. To support Daniel’s Law, visit the

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If you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, call the car and motorcycle accident lawyers at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. today at 1-800-777-4081 for a free initial case evaluation.

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