Distracted Driving Accidents: Can App Creators Be Held Legally Responsible for Crashes?
Several years ago, an 18-year-old took her parents’ Mercedes and went for a drive during the late-night hours. Despite a posted speed limit of 55 mph, she proceeded to drive at a rate that was more than twice the legal limit. She wasn’t racing, nor was she trying to impress any friends on the passenger’s side. What was she doing? She was attempting to post a video on Snapchat using a filter that would show proof of how fast she was willing to drive!
She ultimately reached a top speed of 113 mph, but while doing so, she did not see the SUV merging onto the road in front of her. She attempted to brake at the last minute, but she was still traveling at a speed of 107 mph when she crashed into the SUV. As a result of the crash, the SUV driver sustained a traumatic brain injury that left him in the hospital for months.
The SUV operator filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for his medical bills as well as the debilitating effects of his injury. What’s interesting here is that he not only sued the teen driver, but he also sued Snapchat. His attorneys argued that Snapchat should have known the “speed filter” was dangerous (based on prior reports of similar incidents) and that it was negligent for putting such a dangerous tool in a teen driver’s hands.
Presiding Judge Ultimately Dismissed the Claim Against Snapchat
As noted above, this accident occurred several years ago, and eventually, Snapchat was removed from the case. The presiding judge dismissed the claims against Snapchat, citing a provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) which states: “[N]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
There have been other cases against app makers that have yielded similar results, but they were not based on the CDA. Typically, the argument has been that app makers should be treated the same as gun makers and billboard owners – simply put: They sell a legal product, and if someone shoots and kills someone or gets distracted by an advertisement on a billboard, the company behind the product is not to blame. The quoted portion of the CDA applies specifically to Internet service providers, and while many have questioned the trial judge’s reasoning, many are also seeking reforms that would put more responsibility on app makers to think about the dangers their apps might create.
Were You Hurt by a Distracted Driver? Know Your Rights
If you were hurt in an accident involving a distracted driver, it is important for you to speak with an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible. The long-term physical, financial and emotional consequences of traumatic injuries are far greater than many people realize. That said, injured individuals deserve to be fairly compensated for their current and future losses. While you may or may not have a claim against the company that made the app that led to your crash, you could still have a claim for significant compensation against the distracted driver’s insurer.
Get the Help You Need From Our Accident Attorney Today
To speak with a skilled Tifton accident attorney about your rights after a motor vehicle crash, contact our office immediately. Time is of the essence, so don’t miss your opportunity to get the compensation to which you are entitled.