Despite laws against texting and driving, drivers across the country are getting into accidents when paying too much attention to their smart phones, and not concentrating on driving. Snapchat is a popular photo messaging app that some drivers may be using to take selfies while on the road. However, one user may have been using the app's speed filter to take a high speed selfie, which ended in a serious accident.
Wentworth Maynard and his wife were merging onto a highway with a 55 mile per hour speed limit near Atlanta. All of a sudden, they were struck from behind by a speeding car, sending their vehicle across the road and into an embankment. Maynard was taken to the hospital where he spent five weeks in intensive care. He has traumatic brain injuries, and needs the aid of a wheelchair to get around.
The speeding driver was Christal McGee. Instead of watching the cars on the road, she was busy using Snapchat to take a selfie. The app has a special filter which uses satellite positioning to track the speed of the phone at the time the picture is taken, stamping it on the image. McGee says she was trying to get the car to 100 miles per hour to post it on Snapchat.
McGee did get up to 100 mph, and then some. Her photo showed she'd hit 113 mph when the picture was taken. That was about when she ran into Maynard. According to a lawsuit filed by Maynard, McGee struck the vehicle at 107 mph, almost twice the speed limit. Even after the accident, McGee continued to make sure her presence on social media continued, taking a Snapchat selfie while in the ambulance with blood on her face, with the caption, “Lucky to be alive.”
Maynard is suing not only McGee for negligently causing the accident, but also naming Snapchat as a defendant. According to Maynard's attorney, “Snapchat put something very dangerous in the marketplace without any warnings or safeguards, and basically said, whatever happens, happens.
The lawsuit also states that Snapchat was aware of a previous accident involving the speed filter, and did not remove the speed filter. Earlier this year in Brazil, a woman was taking a Snapchat selfie at about 110 miles per hour, complete with the caption “LMAO.” Seconds later, the vehicle crashed. The driver then took a couple more selfies showing a bloody face, saying the car had overturned.
Snapchat has also been the subject of criticism when individuals use the photo app to post videos and images of criminal activity. A nurse in Indiana was arrested after using Snapchat to take a video of a naked, elderly dementia patient. The video reportedly showed the woman in the shower being sprayed off by staff. The nurse has been charged with felony voyeurism.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident, the Gilman & Bedigian team is fully equipped to handle your complex personal injury claim. Our attorneys have decades of litigation experience dealing with drivers and insurance companies. We will focus on getting you compensated, so you can focus on healing and moving forward.