Category Archives: Social Media and Litigation

Apple’s Safe Driving Update

Apple Leads the Charge for Fewer Distracted Drivers with new iOS Update

Don’t text and drive. Period. According to the Department of Transportation, distracted driving, including being distracted by a text or phone call, accounted for 16% of all vehicle crash deaths on Wisconsin roads in 2015. In 2016, one-hundred and twenty-one people lost their lives in distracted driving related traffic accidents in Wisconsin. Every year, more than 11,000 personal injuries are caused by distracted drivers.

Statistics like these across the country likely drove a new feature in Apple’s latest update to the iPhone’s iOS 11 – a Do Not Disturb While Driving Feature.

This new feature in iOS 11 is not enabled by default, but can be easily enabled by Opening the Settings app > touching “Do Not Disturb” > scrolling down to “Do Not Disturb While Driving” > and selecting “Activate.” From there, you can set how you want Do Not Disturb While Driving to operate. You can turn it on manually, have it come on automatically when your iPhone detects that your car is moving, or when your iPhone connects to your car’s Bluetooth. Don’t worry though, even with the automatic setting, if you’re a passenger you can easily tap the Do Not Disturb notification and disable Do Not Disturb; and, unlike with Pokemon Go, your phone will regain full functionality when you tell it you’re a passenger.

With Do Not Disturb, you can set an auto reply that will be sent to anyone who texts you while you are driving. You can also customize the reply to your liking. The texter will also be prompted that they can text the word “urgent” to you if there is an emergency and the text will then go through and notify you despite Do Not Disturb being activated.

Apart from texts, Do Not Disturb While Driving will also block phone calls. Though the setting is clever enough to know if your phone is connected to a hands-free or Bluetooth accessory and will route the call through there if available. Otherwise, the call will be blocked just like a text.
iOS 11 also includes an option for parental restrictions that will keep younger users from disabling Do Not Disturb While Driving. This setting will allow parents to lock down their teens’ phones while they’re driving.

With this new setting, Apple has taken a strong stance against distracted driving and the personal injuries and often wrongful deaths that can result from it. The setting can still be turned off, but it is at least available, and users are notified of its availability rather than it being buried in the iPhone’s settings.

If you think you have been injured as the result of a distracted driver see a doctor, and, as always, please call Groth Law Firm, S.C. with any questions. We are available 24/7 to discuss your options as the victim of a negligent driver. Our initial consultations are always free.

Impact of Social Media on Personal Injury Cases

Social media has become extremely prevalent in our society over the past few years. There are currently close to 1.7 billion people who have active social media accounts. Indeed, the ability to simply log in and post on social media using a personal mobile device has drastically increased the volume of users worldwide. The legal world has also began to feel the effects of the widespread popularity of social media, especially the personal injury niche of the legal world.

While some social media users utilize social media to keep in touch with old friends or share exciting news, others use social media to literally document their daily lives. What most people do not realize, however, is that what they post on a social networking site may be discoverable in a future lawsuit. Therefore, it is important to be cautious with what you are posting on social media, especially as it relates to any personal injury matters, especially automobile accidents, you may have been involved in.

What Social Media Posts Can Insurance Companies See?

More often than not, defense attorneys are attempting to access clients’ social media activity through discovery requests. These requests typically demand access to any and all social media posts, photographs and sometimes even usernames and passwords for a period of time prior to the accident through the present. Indeed, these requests are extremely broad and likely objectionable. However, the general rule is that anything deemed “relevant” to the accident is admissible. So while the defense will not be granted unfettered access to your social media accounts, they will be allowed to access anything you post that is in any way related to the accident. This may even include posts that make no mention of the accident, but instead relate to your physical activity either before or after the accident.

For example, if you claim you are so severely injured that you have trouble sitting or standing for any significant period of time yet you post photos or videos of yourself waterskiing on Lake Michigan, the defense will eat that right up. As long as posts are even tangentially related to your personal injury claim, they are discoverable.

We often advise clients to assume that anything they post on social media will be seen by the at-fault party’s insurance company. The purpose behind that statement is to discourage them from posting anything related to the accident that may harm their case.

Be Cautious When It Comes to Social Media

With the relatively broad scope of discovery as it relates to social media content, it is crucial to proceed with caution following involvement in an automobile accident. The simplest and most straightforward advice is this: Do not post anything related to the accident or your injuries on social media. If you do, you must understand that it will likely be discoverable and work to your detriment by decreasing the value of your case.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident and have questions about the appropriate steps to take going forward, contact the Groth Law Firm. We have an experienced and driven team dedicated to helping injured people and protecting their rights. Call today for a free consultation.