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Products liability: Driver claims iPhones cause car accidents

Pennsylvania residents may be aware that on August 17, a judge dismissed a lawsuit against Apple that alleged the mobile phone producer was responsible for an accident caused by a distracted driver. Now, another products liability lawsuit has been filed in another state as a class action case against the maker of the iPhone. The defendant argues that the cosmetics manufacturer is not held responsible when a driver causes a rear-end crash because she was applying makeup while driving, and this is the same scenario.

The primary defendant claims that Apple has the patent on technology to lock out an iPhone while the owner is driving. The defendant says newer models of its phones have that facility, but it is up to the owner of the phone to activate the lockout while driving. The plaintiff demands automatic activation along with the upgrade of all iPhones already in use.

The incident that gave rise to the lawsuit occurred when the plaintiff was rear-ended by a driver who was distracted by an iPhone. The lawsuit states that Apple is responsible for thousands of collisions and hundreds of fatalities every year. No mention is made of other cellphone manufacturers.

Negligence in a case such as this one would be difficult to establish, especially after the judge in the dismissed lawsuit stated that Apple cannot decide for users whether they will allow themselves to be distracted while driving. Any Pennsylvania person who suffered injuries that were caused by defective or dangerous products can pursue recovery of damages if they can prove negligence on the part of the manufacturer or anybody in the supply chain. However, navigation of such a lawsuit may be less challenging with the support and guidance of an experienced products liability attorney.

Source:, "Apple Says iPhone Didn't Cause Car Crash", David A. Wood, Aug. 22, 2017

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