The news yesterday brought a ruling in a New Jersey State Appeals Court that dismissed Linda and David Kubert’s civil liability claims against a Rockaway woman who sent a friend a text message moments before he crashed his pickup truck into their motorcycle in September 2009.
Attorney Stephen Weinstein praised an appeals court decision that holds texters responsible if they knowingly distract a driver. He was heartened that the judges created a new legal responsibility that is akin to making texters “electronically present” in the car.
So, what does this statement have to do with online therapy, jurisdiction, portability and offering online therapy services across state lines?
Since 2001 my informed consent has stated a the following (or variation thereof):
There is no case law related to the electronic delivery of mental health services that would suggest this statement would hold water in court, but it has always been my lay opinion that clients who see me online have effectively arrived via the cyber highway to my virtual office and respectively to my brick and mortar office as well. I might conclude that they are electronically present in the office with me.
What do you think?