West Virginia motorists may have heard that a California man is suing Apple for willfully selling smartphones that encourage distracted driving. The complaint, filed in early January, seeks to halt the manufacture of iPhones until lock-out technology is added to the devices to keep people from texting while driving.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was injured when a driver who was allegedly distracted by her iPhone struck his car from behind. The driver still had the smartphone in her hand as she exited her vehicle after the crash. The plaintiff is asking the court to halt Apple from making iPhones until it starts inserting lockout technology into its devices. However, smartphone makers say such technology is not yet refined enough not to affect all phones in a vehicle.
In a similar lawsuit that was filed in late 2016, a man whose car was struck from behind by a driver who was using Apple FaceTime at the time of the collision is seeking damages from Apple based on negligence and recklessness. That plaintiff, whose young daughter died in the crash, claims that Apple should have implemented the patent that it was awarded in 2012 but willfully failed to do so. He maintains that it would have precluded the use of that feature by the at-fault driver and thus prevented the collision.
Texting and driving is against the law in most states. However, even if no charges are brought against a motorist who was engaged in such an activity at the time of a car accident, people who are harmed as a result can still prevail in a personal injury lawsuit if their attorney is able to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that such driver was negligent and that it was the cause of the crash.
Source: CNET, “Apple sued over car accident linked to texting,” Chris Matyszczyk, Jan. 24, 2017