Apple face lawsuit after girl killed in "FaceTime crash"

Apple face lawsuit after girl killed in

A couple from Texas has sued Apple, claiming that their minor daughter was killed in a vehicle crash that was caused by a driver who was distracted by the tech giant's FaceTime video chatting app.

The tragic incident occurred on December 24, 2014 near Dallas, Texas when the Modisette family was traveling in their Toyota Camry.

In the lawsuit, the Modisettes claim that Apple failed "to warn users that the product was likely to be risky when used or misused" or to instruct on its safe usage.

The suit goes on to state that Apple "expressly knew and/or should have known of the risks to human life and safety associated with...the misuse of certain functions available on the iPhone, such as texting, while operating a motor vehicle", and cites a 2008 Apple patent application describing a "driver handheld computing device lock-out" feature.

The lawsuit states that as a result of the distraction caused by FaceTime the SUV driver struck the Modisette family at full highway speed from the behind, which had caused their Camry to propel forward, rotate and come to a final rest at an angle facing the wrong direction in the right lane of traffic.

The car's driver, Garrett Wilhelm, admitted to using Facetime at the time of the crash and is now awaiting trial for manslaughter.

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An investigation later found that Willhelm had been speaking to someone on his iPhone 6 Plus using the pre-bundled iOS video chat app FaceTime at the time of the crash, and that the app was still running even as emergency workers struggled to remove the child and her father from their vehicle. Driver Garrett Wilhelm will stand trial for a manslaughter charge related to his involvement in the high-speed crash next month.

With this in consideration, the Modisettes are now seeking damages from Apple for its "wrongful failure" to install and implement the feature which could possibly make driving safer.

The lawsuit is also claiming that Apple "failed to warn its users that its product was likely to be unsafe when used or misused in a reasonably foreseeable manner".

At issue is the fact that the company has a patented method of preventing the potentially distracting app from being used in a vehicle, but has failed to implement it.

The Modisettes' lawsuit against Apple contends that Wilhelm was distracted at the time because he was talking on FaceTime on his iPhone 6 Plus and not paying attention to road conditions. Despite admitting to using the phone, Wilhelm's lawyer, Ricky Perritt, does not feel the device contributed to the crash.

Apple have been unavailable for comment.

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