Anyone who contributes to a negligent accident may face a civil suit in Alabama. “Anyone” could potentially include businesses, including social media enterprises. In 2021, a court ruling suggested that Snap Inc., the entity behind the social media platform Snapchat, might be liable for injuries sustained due to one of its programs allegedly encouraging reckless driving.
Apps allegedly promoting unsafe speeds
The Snapchat app presented a means for drivers to log their speed and capture images of the speed filter. A young driver could record video of a vehicle traveling at an unsafe speed and promote the behavior on social media.
The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court ruled that Snap can be sued for “rewarding” reckless driving behavior. The ruling dealt with a fatal accident involving young drivers going at dangerously high speeds while using the speed filter. Whether Snap takes the case to the Supreme Court remains to be seen. Ultimately, the ruling puts app and social media developers on notice.
Contributing to negligence
Under civil law, anyone who contributes to liability might become a defendant in a lawsuit. However, the particulars of the case, combined with state law regarding contributory and comparative negligence, factor into the proceedings.
Questions may arise about whether an app encouraged someone’s negligent behavior. An app that apparently downplays the dangers of speeding could face claims of negligence. If the company or developers producing the app carry general liability insurance, the injured parties might file a claim after catastrophic auto accidents. Claims against a negligent driver’s auto insurance policy may occur as well.
Injured victims or their families could direct questions about litigation against social media companies to an attorney. The attorney may also address concerns about filing an insurance claim against a negligent driver or another party.