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Accident Resulting in Severe Brain Injuries Blamed on Snapchat

Guy holding phone with snap chat icon on screen

The developers of the social media app Snapchat are being sued for one man’s injuries in a serious car accident. The victim, Wentworth Maynard, claims that the app’s unreasonably dangerous speed filter drew the at-fault driver’s attention away from the road, resulting in the crash.

Christal McGee, then 18, was out driving her Mercedes with three friends on the night of September 10, 2015. Maynard’s lawsuit claims that McGee was using Snapchat’s speed filter to take photos while driving; the filter measures the user’s speed at the time the photo is taken, and Maynard asserts McGee was trying to get it as high as it would go. At around 11:15 pm, as Maynard attempted to enter the highway on which McGee was driving, McGee slammed into the driver’s side of Maynard’s vehicle, sending the car spinning into the center embankment. According to a reconstruction of the accident performed by Maynard’s expert, McGee was traveling at 107 mph at the time of the crash. McGee did not receive a citation on the night of the accident, but after a selfie that McGee took using Snapchat while still strapped to a gurney captioned “Lucky to be alive” was released to the media, local police opened an investigation into the accident.

Maynard was transported to the intensive care unit, where he would proceed to spend the next five weeks. His attorneys report that he lost 50 pounds, has suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the accident, cannot move around without the assistance of a wheelchair or walker, and has been unable to return to work. He is suing both McGee and the makers of Snapchat for money damages to compensate him for his expenses related to these injuries. Maynard claims that past accidents which resulted from drivers’ use of the speed filter, as well as calls from online petitions and safety experts to disable the speed filter, made Snapchat aware of the dangers of the filter. He claims that Snapchat’s failure to disable the speed filter constituted negligence which makes them liable for injuries resulting from use of the filter. Snapchat has stated that they have provided sufficient warning to their customers, both in the app’s terms of use and when turning on the speed filter, that users should not “snap and drive,” and that this warning is sufficient to relieve them of any liability for accidents resulting from use of the filter.

If you or someone you love has been hurt by a distracted driver in Alabama, seek help from an experienced car accident attorney to ensure you’re fully compensated for your injuries by contacting the Montgomery personal injury attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum for a consultation, at 334-262-1911.