The Next Great Personal Injury Cause: Selfies
One of the fastest growing causes of automobile accidents in America is the use of a smartphone while in the car. It’s gotten so serious that America now suffers from nine phone related automobile deaths every single day. A few years ago, the primary cause of this was simply people texting, but recently, there’s been a new kind of negligence on the road, and for those that are pursuing a personal injury case this is, in some ways, making the resolution of these cases easier, even if the results are still unfortunate. America—like the rest of the world—is in the grip of “selfie fever.”
Distracted Driving And Photography
For those unaware of modern slang, taking a “selfie,” simply means using some device, usually a smartphone, to take a photograph of yourself. It’s a simple process of activating a camera’s photo mode, positioning it properly by holding it a suitable distance away so the camera can clearly see your face, then pressing a button and letting the device take the photo. Vanity can make people go to great lengths to get the perfect photo, even when there aren’t others around to take a picture. Some people even use of “selfie-sticks,” devices to extend the range at which people can hold their phones away to get a better composition for the shot. So distracted and so intrusive are selfie sticks that some people have tried using them on rollercoasters, injuring themselves and others. It’s gotten to the point where the Disney corporation has actually banned all selfie stick use from all of their parks.
And yes, people are now doing this while they are driving, and it’s even happened locally.
Dr. Alex Lopatnyuk, a chiropractor in Oakland, Florida, not only took a selfie, he attached his phone to selfie-stick that he then held out with one hand while driving. He was so distracted by filming himself that he caught on video his own jeep hitting a truck in front of him that was hauling a canoe. The canoe actually went through Dr. Lopatnyuk’s windshield, but fortunately there were no injuries. The doctor however, did voluntarily place the video he shot on the Internet as a form of sheepish, apologetic public service announcement to caution people about the dangers of taking photos or shooting videos while driving.
Caught In The Act
Unfortunately not all selfie-session mishaps result in mere embarrassment. There have been many accidents with severe injuries and sometimes even death. But the most important aspect of a selfie-related incident, especially for legal purposes, is the fact that the cause of the accident is itself a vital piece of evidence.
Assuming that the person taking the selfie has properly configured their smartphone to keep proper time and dates, the selfie photo or video is going to be time-stamped with the moment that shooting began. This means that not only will the defendant in such a case have either a still image or video of what they were doing in the moments leading up to the accident, the time-stamp itself will confirm the timing of their negligent act to the accident. In effect, people involved in selfie-related accidents have given plaintiffs a giant piece of evidence critical to determining negligence in a personal injury case.
Of course, for the people that are involved in the accident, especially those that are injured, this is all of little consolation in enduring the pain of an injury. But at the very least, it speeds up the legal process and makes it difficult—if not impossible—for the people involved to deny negligence, even if there were no witnesses. Their own camera was a witness to the accident. If you’ve been in an automobile accident where the other driver was taking selfies, getmejustice.com will be more than happy to represent you in a clear cut, open-shut case of negligence with the evidence already at hand.