Can You Sue the Phone Maker for a Distracted Driving Accident?
“At the start of 2017, a Texas couple filed a lawsuit against tech giant Apple for causing the death of their 5 year old daughter on Christmas Eve of 2014. James and Bethany Modisette argued that the Facetime video chat app so engrossed one driver that he ended up ramming into their rear at more than 65 miles per hour. The driver, Gerret Wilhelm, did not see that the Modisettes had stopped following a police incident ahead. Gerret’s SUV ripped the car’s rear apart on impact.
The Modisettes’ daughter succumbed to her injuries while the rest of the family survived. The driver of the SUV has since been charged with manslaughter but the couple feel that responsibility for the crash goes further. This is not the first time that phone manufacturers or telecommunication companies are being sued for causing death or injury on the road. It is unlikely to be the last. In 2016, Apple was sued for a fatal accident in Texas because the at-fault driver was using her iPhone to text at the time.”
Why Sue the Phone Manufacturer?
Suing the driver who caused an accident because they weren’t paying attention is the natural thing to do. However, can phone manufacturers be held liable for a consumer’s harmful use of a phone they made?
Considering the hundreds of millions of phones in the US, the success of such a case would perhaps lead to a flood of claims against tech firms. Therefore, gadget makers have always pushed back strongly. That’s why if you experience injury following a phone-distracted driving accident, contact an experienced Boca Raton personal injury lawyer is paramount.
Suing the phone companies is not as outlandish and irrational as it might seem at first. For starters, phone companies have fairly deep pockets. Ergo, in the case of fatality or serious injury, they are likely to be in a far better position to pay out a substantial compensation to the victim when compared to the driver at fault.
Second, Apple has long had the technology to intervene in phone distracted driving. A couple of years ago, Apple filed a patent for a lockout feature on its handheld devices that would prevent their function when driving. iPhones therefore have the potential to detect that the owner is moving at high speed and disable calling, texting or browsing capability. Apple and other phone makers have however not found it necessary so far to enable such a feature by default.
What Would the Case Involve?
A case against the phone maker will likely cite research that points to the many people who use electronic gadgets while driving.
A Boca Raton personal injury lawyer will also dwell on the dangers posed by distracted drivers. They’ll perhaps go as far as comparing phone distracted driving to DUI. It will also be vital to demonstrate that the urge to use one’s phone is nearly irresistible. The phone makers are therefore contributing to road accidents and fatalities as long as they don’t include safeguards that could minimize or eliminate this risk.
The court on its part would then have to make a determination on whether phone makers should carry part of the responsibility for protecting the public from the reckless actions of persons using their products. The court’s decision would likely boil down to if the manufacturer could foresee the harm caused as a resulting of using its products in certain ways.
For Apple, the fact that the company filed a patent for a lockout mechanism several years ago is a chink in its armor. It hints that the company has for a while now understood that there are substantial road collision risks that arise by the inappropriate use of the iPhone.
Also Read: 10 Distracted Driving Facts That Will Make You Think
Get in Touch with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer After a Distracted Driving Accident
If you have been involved in accident where the other driver was distracted by their phone, it’s time to consider pursuing the phone maker for compensation. This can be a challenging case especially considering the array of businesses that would not welcome a ruling that isn’t in the favor. That’s why hiring a seasoned Boca Raton personal injury attorney would be crucial. Contact Leifer & Ramirez for a complimentary initial discussion about your case.