Car Accident Lawsuit: Snapchat Speed Filter to Blame

A man who suffered permanent and severe brain damage in a car accident is suing both the alleged at-fault driver and social media platform Snapchat. Plaintiff alleges defendant driver was using a filter on Snapchat that tracks how fast users are traveling. iphone3

The teen girl was reportedly operating her Mercedes at 107 mph. The 18-year-old reportedly wanted to share how fast she could drive on the social media platform. The feature reportedly offers a filter that records speed and overlays it on a picture.

The car of plaintiff, an Uber driver, was reportedly struck by defendant’s vehicle.  As a result of the impact, plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in permanent damage. He spent five weeks in the intensive care unit and now needs assistance in order to walk. He is also no longer able to work. He lost 50 pounds and is no longer able to care for himself. 

Against defendant driver, plaintiff is alleging negligence for careless and reckless operation of a vehicle. However, the social media platform knew or should have known users were using the smartphone feature while they were driving.

Car accident lawyers for plaintiff pulled the results of prior users, and found in one case, a person recorded themselves driving at 142 mph.

Now plaintiff is seeking payment of past and future medical bills, plus lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering.

Plaintiff alleges Snapchat knew or should have known the filter was being used by drivers in a way that was dangerous and posed a risk of serious harm not only to users but to others.

A spokesman for the social media platform refused to discuss the specifics of the case with the media, but did issue a statement indicating no Snap is more important than one’s life, and the company “actively discourages” users from using the platform while operating a motor vehicle. In fact, a display in the app warns, “Do Not Snap and Drive.”

The company said the app is intended for a number of much safer uses, such as while jogging or while on a plan. Further, the company’s Terms of Service explicitly state the application is not to be used in a way that would distract from obeying safety or traffic laws.

Even after the accident, defendant driver reportedly did not put down the phone. An image of her, bandaged, bloodied and in a neck brace lying in the back of an ambulance, was uploaded to Snapchat with the words, “Lucky to be Alive.”

Plaintiff lawyers point out that the speed tracker on the app rewards users who submit their speed by doling out “points.” Defendant driver was reportedly on a Georgia road with a speed limit of 55 mph. She was doing nearly double that, plaintiff alleges.

Plaintiff had reportedly just begun his Uber shift, and said defendant driver was going so fast, he had no time whatsover to react.

Attorneys for the injured man said teens are known to be prone to distraction – and Snapchat has played into that propensity with this application by rewarding them with social status.

Defendant driver’s father has publicly disputed plaintiff’s account, saying she was only traveling about 65 mph, was not on her phone and did not cause the car accident.

These are disputes of material fact that will no doubt be central issues during trial.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Snapchat ‘Speed Filter’ Led to Georgia Car Crash, Lawsuit Alleges, April 28, 2016, By Elizabeth Chuck, CNBC

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Bayless v. TTS Trio Corp. – Dram Shop Lawsuit to Proceed, May 2, 2016, Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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