Punitive Damages for Texting and Driving

 In California, an appellate court is being asked to consider whether a texting driver can be held liable for punitive damages.  Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and, hopefully, deter others from engaging in the same harmful conduct.  In the texting while driving context, the argument is that by texting while operating a vehicle, the driver “consciously disregarded” the safety of others on the roadway.  The same argument is used in drunk driving cases.

While texting and driving is definitely illegal in Tennessee, this issue of whether a driver who was texting and driving can be held liable for punitive damages has not yet been decided by Tennessee courts.  Of course, proving the driver was texting will often be an issue.  In the California case, a witness testified the driver had been testing for a while and had swerved in and out of lanes before finally losing control and injuring someone.  And of course, if there is reason to suspect the driver was texting, a subpoena can be issued for the drivers’ phone records. 

Please do not text and drive.  It could cost a life – maybe your own.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact one of our award-winning lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation.  Call us any time at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787For information about fees, click here