Key point. The use of cell phones by church employees and volunteers while driving vehicles on church business may expose the church to substantial liability in the event of an accident caused by distracted driving.
A Florida court ruled that the cell phone records of a driver who was killed when her car struck a truck could be examined by the trucking company's attorney to determine if the decedent was using her cell phone at the time of the accident. A truck operated by a trucking company collided with a vehicle driven by a woman, who was killed in the accident. Six months later, the decedent's estate filed a wrongful death action, but the trucking company denied liability. It asserted that the decedent's own negligence in operating a cell phone at the time of the accident was the sole cause of the accident, and therefore the trucking company could not be found liable for her death.
On several occasions the trucking company requested data from the decedent's cell phone, which had been kept unused since the accident. And while the trucking company received some calling and texting records from the decedent's wireless provider, other cell phone data was not disclosed, such as use and location information, internet website access history, email messages, and social and photo media posted and reviewed on the day of the accident.