It should serve as no surprise that distracted driving is a leading cause of vehicle accidents in the U.S. Cell phone use while behind the wheel alone accounts for 1.6 million crashes every year, according to the National Safety Council. While it makes sense that the distracted drivers would be held liable for their actions, at what point are other parties (like app producers) afforded some of the blame? The Georgia case of Maynard v. McGee and Snapchat Inc. will set a precedent for attributing personal injury liability to parties such as these.
The case was brought on after a car accident which occurred between defendant, Christal McGee, and the plaintiff, Wentworth Maynard. According to the suit, McGee had been using the popular photo and video sharing app Snapchat to record her speed using one its “lenses” while driving in the car with friends. That speed, according to reports, topped off at 107 miles per hour. That was when Maynard’s car allegedly drifted into McGee’s lane, at which point she crashed into him and lost control of her own vehicle and ran off the road. Maynard sustained a severe traumatic brain injury in the crash, which required a five-week stay in the intensive care unit. McGee and her friends, who were in the car at the time of the crash, maintain that the accident was the fault of Maynard.
The First of Its Kind
It’s not uncommon for a liquor establishment to be held liable in cases of drunk driving suits, but this lawsuit marks the first time an app has been sued for contributing to reckless driving. So, why blame Snapchat? While one would hope the company hadn’t intended for those behind the wheel to use the “lens” which allows users to record speeds, clearly that is how it is being utilized. However, it’s important to note that Snapchat does in fact display a message discouraging users from using the feature while driving. Now, it is up to the courts to determine if the app in any way contributed to the accident. And perhaps even more importantly, it’s up to Snapchat to determine how it will prevent such tragedies involving its app in the future.
If you have been the victim of an accident, a Miami personal injury attorney can ensure you get the justice you deserve. Call the team at Graham Legal today to figure out your next steps.