Snapchat Developers Sued over Injuries in Accident Allegedly Caused by App
A man who suffered serious brain trauma in a car accident with what he alleges was a distracted driver is now suing both the driver and the makers of the photography app Snapchat, with which he claims the at-fault driver was distracted. Georgia resident Wentworth Maynard is seeking damages in the amount of the extensive medical expenses he has incurred, as well as other costs stemming from the accident.
At the time of the crash, Maynard was merging onto the highway, his wife riding as a passenger, while then-18-year-old Christal McGee approached from behind him. McGee claims that Maynard drifted into her lane without signaling, which caused the crash. In contrast, Maynard argues that McGee was instead traveling at tremendous speeds while using her phone. He asserts that McGee was using the speed-measuring filter on Snapchat, which uses the phone’s built-in motion sensors to measure how fast the phone is moving, and prints the speed on the photographs that the app takes at the time. Maynard’s lawsuit states that McGee was attempting to get the speed up as high as possible, and states that the evidence will prove that McGee was traveling at 107 mph at the time of the crash. Maynard suffered serious injuries in the crash, and spent the next five weeks in the hospital. He is now unable to walk unassisted, has permanent brain damage, and cannot work.
Snapchat has offered in response that, when using the speed filter in the app, a warning comes up instructing users, “Do NOT Snap and Drive.” A Snapchat representative also noted that, in the terms of service agreed to by all users of the app, it states, “Do not use our Services in a way that could distract you from obeying traffic or safety laws. And never put yourself or others in harm’s way just to capture a Snap.” These disclaimers may not be enough to relieve Snapchat of liability for including the speed filter as an available option in the app. Lawyers for Maynard will likely raise the question of what the purpose of the speed filter would be, if not for users to note how fast they were traveling while they or a friend were behind the wheel of a car.
Additionally, the complaint notes that, even if the speed filter were intended for another purpose, the developers were aware of the dangerous ways the filter has been used in the past, and still took no steps to prevent future harm. The complaint notes, Snapchat has a “responsibility to act reasonably to take steps to eliminate risks associated with their products,” and in failing to do so, should be held legally responsible for the harm that resulted. One example of the filter leading to injury is the July 2015 case of a Brazilian woman who, while using the speed filter, reached speeds of 110 mph, crashed, and sustained serious injuries. While online petitions have long called for the filter’s removal, Snapchat has refused to do so.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in an accident in Kentucky with a distracted driver or otherwise dangerous and negligent driver, seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries and contact the knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at Davis & Haymond, P.S.C. for a consultation, in Richmond at 859-624-3380, or in Irvine at 606-726-9991.