A Texas family has initiated a lawsuit against the technology giant Apple following the death of their five-year old daughter as a result of a horrific motor vehicle crash. According to documents released so far, the family claims it was involved in the collision due to the fact the other driver was actively using the ‘Face Time’ app while driving in traffic. The plaintiffs claim that, but for the use of the app, the entire accident would have likely been avoided.
The incident occurred in the evening hours of Christmas Eve 2014, in an area near Dallas. According to reports, the victims were operating their vehicle when they came upon police activity and rolled to a stop. Behind them, a Toyota Rav4 continued operating full speed at 65 miles per hour, careening into the back of the victims’ vehicle and completely destroying its frame. Two adults and one other young child were treated for injuries in local area hospitals, while the victims’ young daughter succumbed to her injuries in a nearby children’s hospital.
In the plaintiff’s complaint, they allege that Apple had installed software in the iPhone that could automatically disable Face Time when traveling at highway speeds. However, the software was not set to automatically engage this feature. In other words, an iPhone user would need to manually set the feature, which did not occur in this case. The other driver has since been indicted on manslaughter charges, and is set to begin his trial in February, 2017.
This case presents an interesting take on the assignment of liability following a tragic motor vehicle accident. Negligence on the part of the driver is likely pretty clear – especially given the face he admitted to using the video chatting app immediately following the crash. However, in order to connect Apple to the victim in question, the plaintiffs will have to prove the causation element is met, and that Apple could have reasonably foreshadowed this type of accident could occur notwithstanding the default settings on the FaceTime app.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney today!
If you were recently involved in a motor vehicle accident in Texas, please contact Chandler Mathis & Zivley today: 1-800-657-2230.