‘Can I sue an app?’ and other questions you’re probably afraid to ask

‘Can I sue an app?’ and other questions you’re probably afraid to ask

We use mobile apps for practically everything so it’s no surprise that some of them have caused all sorts of troubles, especially legal ones. But we’re not going to lie -- suing an app developer is rife with complications. If you decide to sue an app, you may want to ask the following questions:

  • Who do I sue?
  • Where do I sue?
  • What did I agree to when I downloaded and started using the app?

There are also those who have had to ask more specific questions about the problematic usage of certain apps. Here are some of them.

Can I blame Google Maps for failing to account for my safety as a pedestrian?

Google is constantly enhancing its Map app to deliver "smarter" results. Despite that, Google Maps still ‘failed’ at least one of its users who got into an accident because she followed its directions a little too closely.

In 2010, Laura Rosenberg used Google Maps to get directions going to Prospector Avenue from Daly Ave in Park City, Utah. She followed the app’s instructions to walk along Highway 224, where there were no sidewalks, and got hit by a car driven by Patrick Harwood.

Laura sued Mr. Harwood and Google for $10,000. She claimed the app didn’t warn her that the highway wasn’t conducive to walking...Except that Google actually does provide warnings for pedestrian safety.

Google Maps may occasionally have errors but not providing a warning about pedestrian sidewalks safety is not one of them. Too bad for Laura, who it turned out, was using a Blackberry device, where the Google Maps app did not show the necessary instructions. Clearly, she filed suit against the wrong tech company.

Would I be liable for endangering someone’s life by using a Snapchat filter?

Snapchat is either one of the most useless apps to ever appear in app stores or the most brilliant. It has become such a huge hit that it inspired copycats. You’d think lawsuits involving it would be all about copyright infringement, but you’d be wrong.

Instead, the photo/video-sharing app is getting sued for privacy issues and one particularly problematic filter. The miles per hour filter is a filter so useless and dangerous it could only fascinate people with a lot of their time on their hands. One such person is 18-year-old Christal McGee, who drove at 100 miles per hour so she can Snap it to her Snapfriends (or whatever it is they’re called).

As a result, she smashed her Mercedes into Wentworth Maynard’s Mitsubishi Outlander at a Hampton, Atlanta highway, causing the latter to skid and crash onto an embankment.

You could probably guess what both parties did after the accident.

Mr. Maynard, who suffered from traumatic brain injury and has been unable to work since the accident, sued Christal for damages. He also filed suit against Snapchat.

On the other hand, immediately after the crash, Christal took a snap of her bloodied self strapped to a stretcher in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. If she had just used the bunny ears to Snap her face while driving at a safe 60 mph, she could have avoided ruining a man’s life and endangering the lives of three others who were with her at the time.

Can I get my life back once everyone stops playing Pokémon Go for good?

If you were one of those who became obsessed with Pokémon Go, it's probably not hard to imagine why an app that requires its players to walk around -- not just in one’s house but anywhere there’s a flat surface -- to catch Pokémon, can cause a stink.

The Pokémon Go app left in its trail other augmented reality games and a couple trespassing lawsuits, as in the case of Scott and Jaymi Dodich from California. The Dodiches sued game developers Niantic and Nintendo and claimed that the game encourages trespassing on private property and is a nuisance that affects the quality of life of non-Pokémon catchers.

The Dodiches’ case is far from being a nuisance lawsuit and wasn’t the only one of its kind. There were also some Pokémon Go-related injuries that resulted in players filing suit against its developers.

As personal injury attorneys, we completely missed out on the Pokémon Go fad, so we can’t describe its mechanics, whether Pokemon gyms are for working out, etc. But now we know why kids and adults had their heads buried in their smartphones all over Renton for the last few years.

As far as we know, there is no app to file a lawsuit or get access to expert legal advice. Tap into Renton lawyers Buckingham, LaGrandeur & Williams’ expertise who can represent you in your motor vehicle accident or personal injury cases.