Social media can be used for good. And it can be used for not as good. The culture that drives the creation of apps that allow us to share our lives with friends is at the center of an Atlanta injury lawsuit filed just recently. The case is already making headlines in the tech community. As TechCrunch reports, last September, a young Atlanta driver did something incredibly dangerous and in their words “narcissistic.” She decided that it would be interesting to post a photo on the app Snapchat that showed her driving at 100 miles per hour. Only she was traveling at 107. Snapchat allows a user to put a filter on an image that shows how fast a car or other motor vehicle is going. The feature is aptly noted by TechCrunch to be included as an option “for some reason.” This subtle reference to purposelessness is one we happen to share. Because, as one might expect, her actions resulted in a terrible crash in which her victim sustained traumatic brain injury. He is now in a wheelchair … all due to the fact that this young woman made one of the worst decisions of her life.
According to reports, the young woman had several co-workers in her vehicle, including a pregnant friend. She crashed into her victim’s vehicle while distracted trying to document her speed. Her drive home is now the subject of a lawsuit filed in Spalding County, Georgia in which she and Snapchat have been named as defendants. Snapchat claims that it warns users not to use the app while they are driving.Snapchat claims that it warns users not to use the app while they are driving. Perhaps implying that a wise user would allow a passenger to use the app, but not the driver who would become distracted. The catastrophically injured plaintiff is seeking to recover for his injuries and loss of work income. Ironically, he was an Uber driver at the time of the accident which has now changed his life.
We agree with TechCrunch’s comments about this crash and the litigation. What kind of world is being created when we have to worry not only about those on the highway who are texting while driving, but those who make such a senseless decision to drive 100 miles per hour and prove it to their friends? It will be very interesting to see how this litigation proceeds and whether the door is opened to other app creators that ask their users, even with warnings, to use a service that puts them and others on the road in serious danger. Perhaps one day some even smarter techie will develop an app that stops drivers from texting altogether while driving. Perhaps vehicles will one day be manufactured with not only technology that prohibits a drunk driver from starting their car, but stops a driver from using apps in such a foolish way.
We will keep our readers posted on how this litigation develops and whether it settles before trial. The likelihood that settlement demands by the plaintiff have not been met at this point, may mean that it will have to proceed closer to trial for the case to be resolved. One thing is for sure, this young woman, whose Snapchat post stated “lucky to be alive” after the crash, might one day say “sorry for the harm I have caused” instead.
Update: Since this post was published, the young driver has now been charged with several crimes related to this accident. Among those are reckless driving and serious injury by vehicle. We will continue to keep readers updated on the status of these actions related to this tragic crash.
Contact Scholle Law for guidance or assistance after a vehicle crash and injuries. We are experienced trial lawyers with a laser focus on our clients and their needs. We help families recover from traumatic injuries and get them the support they need after a tragic accident like the one in this case.