Many people use GPS technology in one way or another while they are on the roads. Some people use a system that is built right into the vehicle while others use the GPS on their phone to navigate their way from one place to another. Still, other people use GPS on their watches. It is no doubt this technology has become a big part of our lives today.
Unfortunately, while GPS technology is convenient, it is not always perfect. Just like any other technology or product, GPS has the potential to be faulty and lead drivers into dangerous areas. When this is the case, people can become seriously hurt. When this happens, accident victims sometimes wonder if they can sue the manufacturer of the GPS for their injuries. Truthfully, this is quite difficult to do. It is important to speak to an Atlanta personal injury lawyer that can advise on your case.
Common Causes of Car Accidents Involving GPS
People sometimes put full faith in the GPS devices they use in their vehicles. However, just like anything else, there have been times when these systems are faulty and have caused accidents. Common instances of this include when a system:
- Directs a motorist into oncoming traffic
- Fails to recognize a one-way highway
- Fails to recognize railroad crossings
- Uses out-of-date software that relies on roadways that may no longer be in existence
- Confuse actual roads with unsafe terrain or bodies of water
Although faulty GPS devices can result in providing incorrect directions to a driver and ultimately causing a crash, there are other common causes of accidents involving GPS devices. One of the most common is when a driver becomes distracted by the system. Many people automatically think of texting and driving when they think of distracted driving, but there are other distractions, as well. Using a GPS device, eating and drinking, and even rowdy passengers are all some of the most common forms of distracted driving.
While faulty GPS devices have been shown to result in serious car crashes, proving liability in these cases is never easy. There are many factors to consider, and the legality surrounding these accidents is not quite yet clear.
Proving GPS Manufacturer Liability
In Atlanta, as throughout the rest of Georgia, manufacturers can be held liable when they create defective products that end up injuring someone. In these cases, individuals do not even always have to prove the manufacturer was negligent. Under strict liability laws, accident victims must only show a product was defective and that they became injured as a result. In cases involving GPS devices though, it is not so straightforward.
There are many reasons for this. The first is that different courts view GPS technology differently. Some consider GPS devices to be a product, which means when a device is defective, it would fall under the area of product liability law. Other courts, though, have classified GPS as a service and not as a product. As such, accident cases involving defective products would not fall under product liability law. Still, others claim that GPS manufacturers are not liable for injuries caused by an accident because some providers, such as Google Maps, provide their service free of charge.
There are times when an incorrect GPS is clearly at fault for an accident. For example, a GPS may use outdated information and try to direct drivers to a road that no longer exists. In some cases, this may mean the manufacturer is liable. For instance, if the manufacturer had been told about the incorrect information and they did not change their technology, that could mean they are at fault for any injuries. Still, GPS manufacturers have taken great measures to protect themselves in these cases, and that could make it more difficult for accident victims to file a claim.
Many GPS systems have a warning that displays before the device can start working. This warning tells drivers that failing to pay attention to the road or the operation of a vehicle could result in injury or death. Drivers have to click on the “Agree” button before the GPS device will work, which essentially creates a contract. It is true that disclaimers and warnings such as this do not provide an ironclad shield from liability for manufacturers. Still, they can make filing a personal injury claim much more difficult.
Drivers Must Still Act Reasonably Behind the Wheel
Drivers are allowed to use GPS devices behind the wheel, and sometimes the technology may be defective. Still, drivers are also expected to act in a reasonable and safe manner while they are behind the wheel. When they do not, they can be found liable for causing an accident, perhaps regardless of what their GPS said.
For example, a GPS device may tell a driver to turn the wrong way onto a one-way street. Although this is incorrect information, the driver is still expected to make sure it is safe to turn onto that road before doing so. If there was signage that indicated the road was one-way and the driver turned anyway, that would likely be seen as a negligent act on the part of the driver and not the GPS manufacturer.
Again, the law regarding faulty GPS technology and car accidents are extremely murky. Any time a person is hurt after receiving inaccurate information from a GPS, they should speak to an Atlanta car accident lawyer that can advise on their case.
Call Our Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta Today
The law surrounding car accidents always has the potential to become complicated, but this is particularly true when a crash was caused by an inaccurate GPS device. At MG Law, our Atlanta car accident lawyer has the necessary experience with complex cases and can provide the sound legal advice you need during this difficult time. Call us today at 404-982-4219 or fill out our online form to schedule a free review of your case and to learn more about how we can help.