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Apple Sued After Facetime Causes Fatal Car Accident

January 14, 2017

A case recently filed in California seeks to hold Apple accountable for a fatal car accident that happened in Texas. The facts of the accident are as follows: A husband and wife were traveling with their two children on Interstate 35W. All were secured with seat belts and the youngest child was in a booster seat. James was driving when traffic slowed down. Simultaneously, Garrett Wilhelm was traveling on the same stretch of road behind the Modisette family. As traffic slowed, Wilhelm failed to also do so because, it is alleged, he was using FaceTime on his iPhone 6 Plus. Wilhelm was distracted by the app and hit the Modisette's while driving at 65 miles per hour. All members of the Modisette family were seriously injured in the accident, and the youngest child tragically died in the crash.

Now, the Modisette's are seeking to hold Apple accountable for the loss of their daughter and extensive injuries because Apple failed to introduce technology, for which it already holds a patent, that would potentially have prevented the driver from using FaceTime at the time of the crash. Apple applied for a patent in 2008 that would lock out the ability of drivers to use FaceTime while using a motor vehicle. The patent was granted in 2014.

According to the California lawsuit, Apple's failure to design and sell the iPhone 6 Plus with a patented, safer design already available and its failure to warn users of the potential dangers of the product rendered the device defective. Apple has not yet responded to the lawsuit or public inquiries regarding the case.

Should Cell Phone Makers Be Held Accountable for Car Accidents Caused By Their Devices?

This California case presents some interesting questions as to how just how far accountability should stretch for phone makers and the car accidents that their devices cause. It is a fact that cell phone use contributes to millions of accidents nationwide. Cell phone makers have the technology at their disposal to enact "lock outs" limiting users from accessing certain features while their vehicle is in motion. Thus far, app creators have issued warnings on some games and other programs cautioning drivers not to use the device while driving, but cell phone companies have yet to create blanket locks for things like texting or browsing while the car is in motion. It is likely that this California case is just one of many that cell phone makers will face in coming years as the court system grapples with important questions of liability for car accidents.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 39 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Accident Claim!

Private individuals and the government are increasingly moving towards holding technology companies responsible for car accidents that could have been prevented through programming adaptations. It is still up to all of us to stay off our phones and focus on the road ahead when we drive. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a distraction related car accident, contact Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law. Our car accident lawyers are here to help the victims of all manner of accidents. Since 1984, Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, has assisted auto accident and injury victims throughout the State of Georgia.

Our law firm has over 39 years of experience in representing car accident victims across Georgia and in the Southeast. Contact us to schedule your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.


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Category: Accident News

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.