Study Reveals Thousands of Drivers Playing ‘Pokemon Go’ While Behind Wheel

‘Pokemon Go’ is a free location-based augmented reality game (a video game that allows players to experience digital gameplay in a real-world environment) that created a worldwide craze when it was released this past July. Players use their mobile devices to locate, capture, battle, or train virtual creatures, and the popularity of the game was not without criticism.

Some people complained about players using the app in sensitive locations such as the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum or Arlington National Cemetery, and many other players suffered serious injuries or were killed because they entered dangerous settings or ignored certain real-life hazards while playing the game. On September 16, JAMA Internal Medicine published a study that demonstrated yet another concern about people using “Pokemon Go” at inopportune times: Playing while driving.

The study’s authors searched Twitter postings (tweets) containing the terms “Pokémon” and “driving,” “drives,” “drive,” or “car” for July 10 through 19, 2016, as well as Google News reports that included “Pokémon” and “driving” published from July 10 to 20, 2016. The Google News results yielded 321 story clusters, but the researchers found that the 33 percent of tweets indicating that a driver, passenger, or pedestrian was distracted by “Pokemon Go” suggested there were 113,993 total incidences reported on Twitter in just 10 days.

While the findings were certainly concerning, one of the study’s authors, John Ayers, told NPR that the analysts knew they were undercounting because not all players use social media and the study did not reveal how many of the players were involved in automobile accidents. The study noted that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among essentially the game’s primary audience: 16- to 24-year-olds.

Catherine McDonald, an assistant professor of nursing in the Family and Community Health Department at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and a Senior Fellow with the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told NPR that young people may prioritize the game over the road. “The gaming aspect or the collecting of Pokemon and the competition aspect may outweigh some of the [safety] risks for them,” McDonald told NPR.

Distracted Driving Accidents in West Chester, PA

Even before mobile devices became more commonplace in society, motorists were still susceptible to various distractions that posed certain risks for others on the road. Generally, there are three types of possible distractions:

  • Visual — A distraction that takes a driver’s eyes off the road;
  • Manual — A distraction that takes a driver’s hands off the wheel; and
  • Cognitive — A distraction that takes a driver’s mind off of the task at hand.

The amplified danger of “Pokemon Go” is that people who are playing the game while driving are subject to all three of these kinds of distractions. Much like people who text while driving, “Pokemon Go” players are at increased risk of causing motor vehicle accidents.

Innocent people involved in crashes caused by distracted drivers may sustain any one of a number of catastrophic injuries, including paralysis, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), or death. Negligent drivers will not necessarily admit that they had been preoccupied with “Pokemon Go” or something else on their mobile devices, which is why it is critical for any person who was hurt or had a loved one killed by a distracted driver to immediately retain legal counsel.

An experienced West Chester personal injury attorney can investigate the cause of a car crash and subpoena a negligent driver’s phone records, if necessary, to prove that the motorist was distracted. Contact a lawyer today if you suffered serious injuries or your loved one was killed by a distracted driver so you can get help obtaining compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering.

Sports Waivers and Child Injuries in Pennsylvania: Do I have legal recourse?

iStock_000026508384SmallMany parents with physically active children want to support that energy by placing them in activities such as sports. As sports have been found to improve youth development and academic achievement, there is also a risk of sports injury, including broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord injuries.

To minimize liability, school districts and sports teams often require parents to sign a waiver or consent form. Generally, these waivers state the school district, sports team, or body hosting the sports activity is not liable for any injuries, medical expenses, or other damages related to the sports activity.

Most parents believe these waivers are absolute and absolve the other party from any liability or fault in the event of injury. However, this is not always the case. There are instances in which the waiver does not apply or does not completely limit liability.

If your child has been injured which playing sports anywhere in Chester County, Pennsylvania, including the 12 public school districts in the area, which include Avon Grove, Coatesville Area, Downingtown Area, Great Valley, Kennett Consolidated, Octorara Area, Owen J. Roberts, Oxford Area, Phoenixville Area, Tredyffrin/Easttown, Unionville-Chadds Ford, or West Chester Area, it is imperative to consult an experienced personal injury attorney.

What are Common Causes and Types of Sports Injuries in Pennsylvania?

Children and young adults throughout Pennsylvania and Chester County participate in a variety of sport activities, including football, soccer, basketball, baseball, and cheerleading.

Unfortunately, every year young athletes are affected by injuries, some of which may have long-term consequences. Some causes of physical injuries would include but are not limited to:

  • Negligent Medical Care
  • Defective and/or Dangerous Equipment
  • Inadequate Equipment
  • Improper Training
  • Negligent Supervision
  • Overuse injuries and/or Dangerous Workloads
  • Prior physical injuries/Re-injury

Some of the most common types of sports injuries in Chester County, include the following:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Broken Bones
  • Spinal Cord Injuries, which include quadriplegia and paraplegia
  • Head Injuries, which include concussions
  • Sprains and Torn ligaments.

According to the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania (BIAP), approximately 156,000 concussions occur in Pennsylvania. Most of those concussions occurred during high contact sports, with more than 60 percent occurring during high school football practices and games.

Statistics also show over 1.4 million Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries of TBIs each year. Children between the ages of 0 to 14 years and teenagers between the ages of 15 to 19 years are at the highest risks for TBIs.

According to the Penn State Center for Sports Surface Research, approximately 22 or more injuries occur each day by high school and college athletes.

If your child was injured playing sports in Avon Grove, Coatesville or Downington school districts in Chester County, please contact Ciccarelli personal injury attorneys for a fee case evaluation.

Waivers

In Chester, Lancaster, Berks and surrounding counties, parents have the ability to excuse the school district, sports team, or other party of legal liability, including waiving the right to a lawsuit, by signing a properly executed waiver.

If the waiver is accurately worded, listed clearly on the document, complete with the signature against who it would be used, then it will usually be valid, even in the case of negligence.

Essentially, a waiver must be in the following form:

  1. The waiver must be in writing;
  2. The waiver must be clearly worded and clearly express the intent to limit all legal liability;
  3. The waiver must clearly list the types of risks, including serious injury or death;
  4. Waiver must be prominently displayed in the document. The waiver cannot be in the fine print or otherwise hidden;
  5. The waiver must be signed by the person excusing liability; and
  6. The waiver cannot violate any Federal or State laws or public policy.

However, no waiver or permission slip will be able to sign away a child or parent’s right to sue in cases of extreme or gross negligence. Gross negligence is behavior that is so careless that it does not come near to the duty of care that was called for.

An example could be, if a child breaks his leg during a soccer game and his coaches pressure he/she to continue playing without pursuing medical attention, this coach most likely would have committed gross negligence.

Conclusion

Figuring out whether or not a lawsuit is necessary or possible after a waiver has been signed can be a complex issue. Ciccarelli Personal Injury attorneys welcome your calls and will review your child’s case, claim and advise you. Our southeastern Pennsylvania attorneys are more than qualified to help you evaluate your case and get the best results you wish for.

Ciccarelli Law Offices has defended many personal injury individuals throughout West Chester, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Kennett Square, Radnor, Plymouth Square, Malvern, and the surrounding area.

Contact the West Chester personal injury attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3190 for a free, confidential consultation. Place your case in good hands at Ciccarelli Law Office.