Makers of Snapchat Sued for Injuries Caused by Distracted Driver
A Georgia man has recently filed a personal injury lawsuit against a young woman and the makers of the photo-sharing app Snapchat. He alleges that she was preoccupied with the app’s speed filter when she careened into him, traveling at what he alleges was over 100 mph.
The victim, Wentworth Maynard, was driving for Uber on the night of September 10, 2015, his wife accompanying him. Christal McGee, then 18, was driving a Mercedes with three of her friends as passengers. Maynard claims in his lawsuit that McGee was trying to get the speed filter, which measures the user’s speed at the time a photo is taken and prints the speed on the photo, as high as it would go. For her part, McGee claims that Maynard had veered into her lane without signaling as he attempted to enter the highway. McGee slammed into the driver’s side of Maynard’s car at 107 mph, according to an accident reconstruction that Maynard commissioned, sending it spinning into the center embankment. Maynard was rushed to the hospital with a severe traumatic brain injury, where he would spend the following five weeks in the intensive care unit. Maynard continues to suffer from what doctors believe to be a permanent brain injury, is unable to walk unassisted, has been prevented from returning to work, and has lost 50 lbs since the accident. McGee suffered injuries, but was alert enough while being wheeled into the hospital on a gurney to take a photo of herself, shared to Snapchat, with the caption “Lucky to be alive.” It was the release of this photo to the media that spurred local police to begin investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident. On the night of the crash, neither Maynard nor McGee received a citation.
Maynard claims in his suit that, while McGee was the distracted driver, Snapchat has also committed negligence in failing to disable the filter, and has been profiting off an unreasonably dangerous product. Snapchat has had abundant notice of the speed filter’s dangers, according to the suit. A number of online petitions have called for its removal from the app, and a Brazilian woman incurred severe injuries in a very similar accident while using the app’s speed filter last summer. And yet, Snapchat claims that it has done nothing wrong, and that its warning to users not to “snap and drive” is enough to absolve it of additional liability.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident with a distracted driver in Alabama, contact the experienced and determined attorneys at the Carter Law Firm for a free consultation, with offices located in Mobile (251-433-6500) and Birmingham (205-202-4050).