Plaintiffs say Apple is liable for distracted driving accidents

West Virginia residents may be aware that smartphone technology is tied to a nationwide distracted driving problem. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are as many as 1.5 million people texting and driving at any given moment. While it's clear that using smartphone apps while driving can be a factor in many car accidents, it's unclear whether smartphone and app makers hold any liability for these accidents.

Smartphone maker Apple was recently sued by plaintiffs in California who want the company to install a safety lock feature on all of its smartphones. The lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit is a woman who claims that she was rear-ended by a driver who was using an iPhone. Apple is also facing a separate lawsuit that was filed by the family of a 5-year-old girl who was killed by a driver who was using Facetime.

According to the civil lawsuits, Apple has had safety technology since 2008 that could be used to help prevent drivers from texting while driving. Apple patented the technology in 2014, but the company has chosen not to install it on new smartphones yet. The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit want an injunction to be placed against Apple so that the company cannot sell any new iPhone 6 smartphones in California until the safety lock technology is installed.

A person who has been injured due to a negligent driver could file a civil lawsuit against the individual who was at fault. The at-fault driver may be asked to compensate the car accident victim for financial damages including lost wages, medical costs and vehicle repairs.

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