I always assumed that personal injury cases where pretty straight forward. After being in an accident, any financial losses that you suffered would be reimbursed by the liable party's insurance company. Unfortunately, things only work this way in a perfect world. In the real world, personal injury cases are extremely complex and getting the insurance company to pay a fair settlement requires the expertise of an experienced injury lawyer. Unfortunately, it took me several months to finally seek out the legal assistance I needed. As a result, I waited much longer than necessary to get the compensation I so desperately needed. During this time, I learned more about personal injury law than I ever thought I would. It is my hope that this blog will allow me to share that knowledge with you so that you can avoid making some of the same mistakes that I did.
What happens when your GPS system or mapping app steers you the wrong way and you get into an accident? Are you solely to blame? Can you lay any of the blame on the maker of the GPS or the app that led you into a brick wall instead of an alley or sent you into a pond instead of over the bridge it said was there? This is what you should know.
Misdirections are alarmingly common.
Drivers who use GPS systems or mapping apps get misdirected around 4 times a year. Younger adults, who tend to use electronic devices more, get misdirected around 6 times a year. What's more significant, however, is that studies indicate that electronic directional devices are causing drivers additional problems. Their natural ability to learn directions and navigate is being suppressed and they're also paying less attention to the spaces around themselves. A UK study showed that around 1.5 million drivers admit to losing track of the other cars around themselves and veering around in traffic in response to their GPS!
You're still responsible for any accident.
If you follow your GPS straight into an accident, don't try to blame your GPS. The judge won't let you off the hook. Several drivers in the U.S. have already tried this route, including a New Jersey teen who followed his GPS into an illegal left, causing a 4-car collision. He was cited for careless driving anyhow. A Washington bus driver caused a major accident that sent 22 people to the hospital after he tried to take his 12ft. bus under a 9ft. bridge while following the GPS. He claimed that he didn't see the warning lights and a sign outside of the bridge and was relying on the "bus route" selection on the GPS instead. He was also cited.
There are essentially two reasons that you can't sue your GPS's maker. First, GPS units and mapping apps all have warnings that tell you, in essence, that they could be wrong. The warning may flash onto your device or phone when you start the system or it might be hidden in the terms of the agreement that you have to click off on and agree to in order to use the device, but they're there. Second, it doesn't matter where you get your bad directions -- at the gas station, from a passenger, or from your uninformed GPS -- you still have the ultimate responsibility for driving safely.
If you fail to pay attention to the vehicles around you, overlook signs, or decide to trust your GPS instead of your own eyes, you're still to blame for any accidents because you have a duty to exercise reasonable care when driving. That includes paying attention to the road and other cars around you, not just your GPS's voice. In fact, you may be better off not mentioning that you were following an electronic mapping system, particularly if it's on your phone. If you do, you could face additional penalties for distracted driving and the illegal use of a cell phone while driving, depending on what state you are in.
If you want more information, or if you've been the victim of someone else's carelessness when they were driving according to the GPS's guidance instead of paying attention to the road, contact a car accident attorney today.Share