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"Snapping" while Driving in Los Angeles

"Snapping" while Driving in Los Angeles

Snapchat is in the news lately.

Besides for the tech company’s upcoming IPO, the app that lets users take and share video selfies has been the subject of personal injury lawsuits across the country.

These lawsuits are tied to the app’s “speed filter” application. While in use, the app measures how fast the user is traveling.  This, in turn, creates an incentive for users to use the app while driving.  The faster one goes, the better.

Unless the user crashes the car and seriously hurts someone.

That’s what happened in September 2015 near Atlanta, Georgia, when Christal McGee hit another car being driven by Karen Maynard while traveling nearly 100mph.  The crash left Maynard with serious brain injuries.

Maynard’s family sued Snapchat, in addition to suing McGee.  Last week, a Georgia judge ruled that Snapchat is immune from this lawsuit under federal law. That leaves McGee as the only avenue of recovery for Maynard’s injuries.

Many legal observers disagree with the Georgia court’s ruling.

A key issue in personal injury cases is foreseeability.  When an app has a function that entices users to use it while speeding, a strong argument can be made that its foreseeable someone will get hurt as a result of using the app.

More cases like this will pop up, and we’ll continue to review them.

Of course, in California, any handheld use of a cell phone is illegal, even to use a map application.

If you were injured in a Los Angeles auto accident as a result of someone “snapping” or using their cell phone, my office is ready to assist, 24/6!