Heard something interesting while listening to a talk radio show yesterday (and, yes, I happened to be driving at the time). It seems our wonderful accident attorneys have found a new revenue source. There have been recent court cases in which lawyers argued third parties have responsibility for car accidents, even though they were nowhere near the crash. Their logic goes something like this: a person sending a text message is potentially causing a hazardous distraction. If the person receiving the text is driving and becomes involved in an accident while reading the text message, the person sending the text should be held as equally responsible as the driver causing the crash.
Lots of questions and implications here, if these lawsuits set a precedence. Smart phone are ubiquitous. People get email on their phones. People read web sites on their phones. Could it be extrapolated that should someone who reads this blog post while driving and happens to get into a car accident, mean that I am now responsible for the resulting damages or worse? (DISCLAIMER: I hereby absolve myself of any liability for anyone who decides to read my blog while driving--DO NOT READ MY BLOG WHILE DRIVING). I initially thought I was being humorous in putting up the disclaimer. Maybe not so funny in retrospect?
What about companies who send emails to their employees? And how can it be proven that the recipient actually read the text (or email) while driving? It may pop up on their phone, but that doesn't necessarily prove they actually read it.
Taking out a page from the the lawyers who sue gun manufacturers, attorneys now can try to sue any entity for which they attempt to assign blame or responsibility for tragedies. They have a previously untapped reservoir of people and groups to sue, and lord knows how much money they can rake in. What about large cell phone companies? Could they be the newest target of class-action lawsuits? Gives a whole new meaning to 'Can you hear me now?' doesn't it?
Perhaps I can sue a silverware company for being the third-party responsible for my being fat, or for my high cholesterol and high blood pressure?
No, of course not. Seriously, I understand personal responsibility for my own actions and behavior. Perhaps it's time that we all try to understand this, and put a limit to the encroachment of needless litigation and finding as many people to blame for tragic circumstances. Personal responsibility: a very limited commodity in a land of vast foolishness.