Social media app blamed for reckless driving accident

Many Louisiana residents rely on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay in touch with friends and family members, but few would think to use such services while behind the wheel and traveling at highway speeds. However, a man who suffered a serious brain injury in a 2015 crash in Georgia claims that the popular cellphone messaging app Snapchat encouraged its users to behave in just this way by providing a speed filter that rewards drivers who post images depicting their speed. The man has filed a lawsuit against the driver involved, and the maker of the popular technology has also been named as a defendant on the basis of it being a dangerous product.

The man's SUV was struck by a car driven by an 18-year-old woman who admits that she was attempting to earn a speed filter trophy from Snapchat. According to the man's lawsuit, the woman's car was traveling at a speed of about 107 mph in an area with a 55 mph posted speed limit at the time of the crash. The man says that he must now use a walker or wheelchair to get around as the accident left him with permanent brain damage. It is unclear whether the product liability portion of the lawsuit will stand.

This is not the first time that Snapchat's speed filter has been linked with a serious car crash. A Brazilian woman suffered major injuries in July 2015 when a Snapchat user attempting to earn a speed filter trophy struck her car at about 110 mph.

Personal injury attorneys seeking compensation for accident victims will usually initiate litigation against the negligent driver or drivers involved as well as their insurance providers. However, attorneys may also sue auto manufacturers that failed to warn vehicle owners about potentially dangerous defects.

Source: The Verge, "Lawsuit blames Snapchat's speed filter for Georgia car crash", Ananya Bhattacharya, April 28, 2016

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