Recently, AT&T wireless users in several states were unable to connect with 911, per a CNN report. Due to the AT&T 911 outage, anyone who tried to use an AT&T phone to call 911 was unable to get through. Both police departments from coast to coast as well as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) were receiving calls reporting the 911 outage. The FCC and police departments used social media to alert people about AT&T phones not being able to connect with 911. As a result, those with AT&T phones who knew about the problem had to call police departments directly for emergencies until the issue could be resolved. However, calling a non-emergency number as opposed to 911 meant that AT&T users’ locations were not visible to dispatchers.
Per KTHV, during the AT&T outage, a former police chief in Arkansas died in a house fire. Reportedly, as the fire raged, several calls came in to 911, but were unable to get through due to the outage. The closest fire department to the former police chief’s home was about a mile away, yet by the time firefighters arrived on the scene, the house was engulfed in flames.
Can Victims Sue Cell Phone Companies for 911 Outages?
Whether victims can file a product liability or wrongful death lawsuit against a wireless provider for negligence related to a 911 outage can depend on several factors, including state laws, what the emergency was and if their cell phone contract includes language preventing such lawsuits. The best bet for victims and their families is to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. Generally, a lawyer will meet with you for free, answer your questions, discuss your legal rights, analyze your situation, tell you whether you have a valid case and explain the options available to you and your family going forward.
Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys have years of experience successfully fighting for the rights of injury victims in Atlantic City and Cape May, including securing several multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements.