Snapchat Facing Lawsuit over Speedometer on App Resulting in Accident

After receiving life-altering injuries that have left him unable to walk unassisted or hold a job, a Georgia man has filed a lawsuit against a distracted teen driver and the makers of the program with which she was distracted, the photography app Snapchat.

On the night of September 10, 2015, Wentworth Maynard was out driving for Uber with his wife accompanying him. Christal McGee, then 18, was out with three of her friends, driving a Mercedes at a high rate of speed. As Maynard attempted to merge onto the highway ahead of McGee, McGee collided with Maynard’s Mitsubishi and sent it careening into the left embankment. Maynard suffered serious brain trauma in the accident and spent the following five weeks in the hospital. He appears to have sustained permanent brain damage as a result of the crash. Since the accident, he has not been able to walk without the help of a wheelchair or walker, cannot care for himself, and has not been able to return to work.

Maynard argues that the reason for McGee’s excessive speed was her use of the Snapchat app; specifically, its speed filter. The app offers a filter that can be laid over photos which notes the speed at which the user and her phone were traveling at the time the photo was taken. Maynard’s lawsuit alleges that McGee wanted to see how high of a speed she could manage to register on the filter. He claims that an expert reconstruction of the accident will prove that McGee was traveling at approximately 107 mph at the time of the crash. McGee was not charged with speeding at the time of the accident, as the witnesses in McGee’s car claimed that she was not speeding, but rather, that Maynard drifted into McGee’s lane, thus causing the crash himself.

Local police began to investigate the incident after Maynard’s attorneys released a photo which McGee took of herself using Snapchat shortly after the accident. The photo depicts McGee strapped to a gurney, dried blood streaks on her forehead, with the caption, “Lucky to be alive.” Maynard’s attorneys have not disclosed how they obtained the photo.

Distracted driving continues to plague US roads, regularly causing injury to fellow drivers, as well as the distracted drivers themselves. Some safety advocates have begun calling for distracted driving to carry similar criminal penalties to drunken driving. Maynard’s lawsuit seeks damages from Snapchat’s makers, as well as McGee, as he claims that Snapchat was aware of the dangerous temptation that the speed filter presents to users of the app, and nevertheless did not disable the filter. Maynard’s lawsuit cites numerous online petitions demanding that Snapchat remove the filter, as well as a July 2015 accident where a woman in Brazil sustained serious injuries while attempting to record herself traveling at 110 mph using the Snapchat speed filter.

If you have been injured by a distracted or reckless driver in Connecticut, make sure that you receive the full compensation to which you’re entitled and contact the experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyers at The APEX Law Firm, in Milford at 203-877-4141, and in New Britain at (860) 900-0900.