Safety experts, legislators, law enforcement authorities, parents and even private companies have all gone out of their way to warn teens about the dangers associated with distracted driving. Though cellphones pose dangers to drivers of all ages, studies indicate that younger drivers are more likely than others to use their phones while operating a motor vehicle and are more likely to become involved in an accident as a result. The combination of a distracting activity and inexperience behind the wheel can lead to sometimes deadly results.
The latest example of the harm that can come when teens are distracted behind the wheel occurred in Georgia, where an 18-year-old is now being sued for causing an accident that left the driver of the other car seriously injured. Though accidents caused by teen drivers are hardly news, personal injury suits that target multibillion dollar technology companies are. In this case, the teen and Snapchat are both being sued by the victim of the accident who is seeking compensation for the harm he suffered as a result of what he says was a Snapchat-related crash.
The accident occurred last year when Christal McGee and three of her friends were driving around town in a Mercedes-Benz a little before 10 p.m. Exactly what happened next depends on who you believe. Christal claims that an oncoming driver, Wentworth Maynard, drifted into her line, causing her to run off the road and lose control of her vehicle. Wentworth says that it was Christal who caused the accident, claiming that the teen was using Snapchat at the time and speeding recklessly as a result.
An accident reconstructionist has said that Christal was driving 107 miles per hour at the time of the crash. The accident was severe and Wentworth was hospitalized for five weeks, suffering serious brain damage as a result. Wentworth and his wife are now suing Christal and Snapchat in an attempt to be compensated for the expenses associated with their accident and subsequent recovery.
The lawsuit claims that Christal is responsible for operating her vehicle in a reckless fashion. Snapchat is alleged to be responsible because Wentworth argues that the teen was using a Snapchat “lens” which clocks the speed of vehicles. He claims the company’s software was encouraging her to driver at faster and faster speeds. Additionally, Wentworth argues that Snapchat motivates people to use the application while driving by awarding trophies once users complete various tasks.
Snapchat has responded saying it has never offered trophies for high-speed driving. Additionally, the company says that its app even displays a warning about the dangers of distracted driving, with the screen clearly stating “Do NOT Snap and Drive”. Though it’s unclear what exactly happened prior to the crash, it has been revealed that Christal posted a Snapchat almost immediately after her accident: a picture of the teen strapped to a gurney, with blood on her face, which said “Lucky to be alive.” Truer words were never spoken.
If you have been injured in a Mississippi car, motorcycle or tractor-trailer accident and think you may have a personal injury claim, please contact the Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley at 601-707-4669.