Texting and driving is a huge problem in Texas and across the United States. The most recent statistics available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that over 3,000 people die annually in texting-related automobile accident cases, and another 400,000 or more are hurt. The problem is particularly problematic among younger drivers.
Recently, a news report indicated that an east Texas woman and her son, who was paralyzed in a 2013 accident allegedly caused by a distracted driver, are seeking damages from the maker of the cellphone that the driver was using at the time of the accident.
A Terrible Accident that Left Two Women Dead and a Little Boy in a Wheelchair
According the news report, the accident giving rise to the lawsuit happened when a 21-year-old driver looked down at a text message and caused a three-vehicle accident. Two women were killed in the collision, and the plaintiff’s son suffered catastrophic injuries that left him wheelchair-bound.
The gist of the plaintiffs’ complaint against the smartphone maker is that the accident could have been avoided if the company had used a safer alternative design. According to the news report, the phone maker actually obtained a patent several years ago for a feature that could have locked the distracted driver out of her phone while her car was moving, but the maker opted not to implement the lock-out mechanism.
What Happens Next in the Case Against the Cellphone Maker
According to the news report, a federal judge has recommended that the plaintiffs’ case be dismissed, but the case was apparently still pending at the time of the report. If the case is dismissed, the plaintiffs may seek the review of an appellate court. It is also possible that the parties will reach a settlement agreement in which the plaintiffs receive some form of monetary compensation to help with the boy’s medical expenses and other damages.
Even if the case is not ultimately successful, it may still serve as a call to action for the cellphone maker (and other companies that make distracting electronic devices) that they may eventually be held liable to those who are hurt by their devices.
The situation is not altogether different from a dram shop action in which a bar can be held liable to someone who is injured by a drunk driver that the bar continued to serve after it was obvious that the person was intoxicated. The bar owner wasn’t behind the wheel, but he or she can still be held accountable for the foreseeable harm caused by his or her negligence. Given the enormous profits made by cellphone designers, manufactures, wholesalers, and retailers, perhaps they too will eventually be held liable for foreseeable harm resulting from customers’ use of their product.
Talk to a Skillful East Texas Trial Lawyer About Your Accident Case
East Texas car accident attorney Earl Drott has over 30 years of experience helping injured people seek compensation for injuries caused by others’ negligence. As a board-certified personal injury attorney, Mr. Drott is available to discuss your car wreck, truck crash, motorcycle accident, or other motor vehicle collision case during a free, confidential office appointment. To schedule your consultation, call us at (903) 531-9300.
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