Pokemon Go Isn't All Fun And Games -- Sometimes It Can Cause A Poke-Accident

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If you haven't heard, the augmented reality game Pokémon Go has become a huge hit. As of August 2016, the game has already been downloaded by more than 100 million users. The game, which is played on a user's cell phone, actually has quite a few positive benefits. For example, players -- or trainers as they're called in the game -- have to actively search to find Pokémon. So you'll now see players of all ages walking around in search of the mythical creatures. IGN even called Pokémon Go the best exercise app out there. But -- as often happens -- with the good comes the bad. And with Pokémon Go, the bad ones are the trainers who try to play the game while driving, which has resulted in numerous accidents.

The New Distraction

Pokemon Go actually has features in it that should prevent trainers from playing while driving. The game, for example, will not let you hatch Pokemon from eggs if you're going 25 miles an hour or faster, and you can only gather items from Pokestops -- centers where you can replenish the supplies you need to capture the creatures -- if you're within its immediate area. Unfortunately, that hasn't stopped trainers from playing while driving.

In Baltimore, a player distracted by the game crashed into a parked police car. And in New York, another player ran his vehicle off of the road and into a tree. Accidents typically occur when a trainer's phone alerts them that they have driven past a prized Pokemon creature, which might then cause them to take their eyes off of the road to see what creature is available or to suddenly swerve to the side or slow dramatically in order to catch the Pokemon. Some players will also swerve or slow down abruptly if they see a Pokestop in the area. Accidents may also occur if a distracted pedestrian player wanders into traffic in pursuit of a Pokemon.

What to Do?

So what should you do if you suspect you've been in an accident with a driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian who had been distracted while playing Pokémon Go? If you're fortunate, the player may feel guilty or be so upset by the situation that they'll actually confess that they were playing. But chances are that the other party won't make such a confession. So if you suspect that the trainer was playing the game, make sure to:

  • Take a glance at the person's phone. If the other party is holding their phone, try to see if the screen shows what appears to be an animated person standing on a map. That is the typical Pokémon Go screen, though it could also show a picture of a Pokémon if the trainer was trying to catch the creature when they got in the accident with you.
  •  Check if there is a Pokestop in the immediate area. If you have the game on your phone, check to see if there is a Pokestop in the area that might have caused the other party to drive erratically. If you don't, check to see if anyone in the area is playing the game and has been attracted to its Pokestop status.
  • Talk to witnesses. If bystanders or other drivers appear on the scene, ask them if they noticed the other party involved in the accident displaying behavior that might indicate they were playing Pokemon Go.
  • Contact a lawyer. If the other driver or a distracted pedestrian has caused you to get in an accident and you have been injured, contact a personal injury lawyer who can help you recover for your physical damages, medical costs and lost wages. A lawyer may also be able to help you get compensation for your pain and suffering.

Hopefully, you'll never get in an accident with a distracted driver who is playing Pokemon Go, but if you do, make sure to take the above steps to protect yourself. And reach out to a lawyer from a place like Trump & Trump


9 August 2016

Dealing with Estate Planning When You're Single

Too many single people assume they don't need to plan their estate. My brother fell into this category, and his unexpected passing left our entire family struggling to deal with his home, belongings, and financial accounts. It took nearly three years for the courts to set up a deal because he left no paperwork detailing how he wanted his estate divided. The situation immediately convinced me to work on my own estate, even though I'm still in my early 30's and don't have children or a spouse to worry about. Since it's a little harder to pick beneficiaries and estate managers when you're single, I collected the resources I used for making my own decisions and decided to publish them here on my blog. Use these resources before talking to an estate planning attorney so you're prepared for making hard decisions.