In 2013, a man was killed in a scooter accident caused by a teenage driver who texting with an iPhone at the time of the collision. The family of the decedent made an unexpected legal move and attempted to sue Apple for negligence. The lawsuit claimed that the company had failed its legal duty to stop people from texting with its cellular devices while they were driving. Judge Maureen Folan of the Santa Clara County Superior Court reviewed the case and ultimately decided to dismiss it.
Judge Folan maintained two key decisions regarding the case:
- Apple did not directly or indirectly contribute to the car accident, as the decision to text-and-drive falls entirely on the teenage driver.
- Apple has no “legal duty” to try to dissuade drivers from using its devices while driving.
The decision underlines the importance of both responsible driving and understanding the sources of liability in personal injury claims. Judge Folan stated that “the chain of causation […] is far too attenuated for a reasonable person to conclude that Apple’s conduct […] was a substantial factor in causing plaintiffs’ harm.” However, it is worth noting that the ruling technically is only tentative and not final. Tentative rulings in court proceedings can potentially be reversed or reviewed further so long as a party within the lawsuit can convince the judge otherwise. It is not known at this time if the family of the deceased driver will make an attempt to change that tentative ruling.
Perhaps in a show of good faith, Apple has recently announced that it is working on more features and software that discourage texting and driving. Proposed changes include phones that automatically silence and block notifications if it detects it is inside a moving vehicle, and preset reply messages to texts and emails that arrive while the phone’s owner is driving. With distracted driving causing thousands of deaths in America each year, any sort of software or feature change for cellphones would likely be a welcome improvement.
You can learn more about this recent story by clicking here and reading a full article posted by Ars Technica.
If you require the assistance of a Connecticut personal injury attorney for a car accident claim of your own, feel free to contact Carter Mario Law Firm. We offer 24/7 service and make hospital and home visits for our clients’ convenience.