Distracted driving claims roughly 8 lives and injures 1,161 people every day in the United States. Drivers get distracted by everything from a cup of coffee to their cell phones and GPS devices. Lately, however, lawyers are starting to ask if someone other than the errant driver should be held responsible for the distraction—especially if it's a major company that seems to be encouraging both reckless behavior and distracted driving. If you've been in an accident due to a distracted driver who was using Snapchat, this is what you should know.
How is Snapchat involved?
Snapchat—the hugely popular social media site that lets people briefly share videos and photos with friends—has a filter that lets drivers record how fast they are traveling while speeding down the road. That particular app is also why at least one lawsuit is seeking to hold the company responsible for a devastating high-speed accident. Other lawsuits are likely to follow since the filter has factored into several devastating accidents.
From a plaintiff's point of view, trying to lay partial responsibility for an accident on Snapchat makes perfect sense—any good attorney that advocates for accident victims is going to look to see who or what might have contributed to the accident in order to try to find the funds to help his or her client recover. If the people injured in the accident have a lot of medical bills or long-term injuries, the distracted driver's insurance may not be enough to fully cover all the bills. Snapchat, on the other hand, does have significant financial resources.
How can Snapchat be held responsible for a distracted driver's actions?
Snapchat put a product out there that encourages people both to speed and to look away from what they are doing at the same time, in order to post the picture of themselves speeding.
In a product geared toward a young demographic, marketing an app like that seems to convey a careless attitude about other people's safety. Essentially, attorneys are claiming that Snapchat's speed filter is a defectively designed product—one that is inherently dangerous.
While the app does carry a warning that's supposed to deter users from using the app in a way that "could distract" them, the pending lawsuit notes that the company is clearly aware that the app has been involved in other accidents. There have even been unsuccessful social media campaigns on Change.org that have asked Snapchat to remove the speed filter.
If this lawsuit is successful, Snapchat could be found to be partially responsible for any auto accidents that have occurred while the app is being used. If you were the victim of a recent auto accident and you suspect that Snapchat was a factor, talk to an attorney or law firm like Hardee and Hardee LLP today about your case.
If you are unable to work because of an illness or injury, you may qualify for social security disability payments. This money comes from a fund you have probably contributed to during your time in the work force, and it is likely that you have the right to disability payments using this money. As an attorney specializing in social security disability, I have a great deal of experience in helping clients determine if they qualify for disability payments. I hope that this blog will help people who have been injured understand what it means to qualify for social security disability benefits and how to go about getting that help.