Pokémon Go is the New Distracted Driving


People slamming into trees. Or cop cars. Players running into traffic. Anxious competitors jumping off cliffs. Brakes, bruises, injuries, all in pursuit of that cute, little, wait a minute, what are those creatures in Pokémon Go anyway?

Pokémon Go is the latest gaming craze (see phenomenon) in which players use iPhone and Android phones to search and find 100’s virtual Pokémon characters. The Pokémon characters can be located in parks, malls and other public areas. Sounds fun? It can be. However, some players are so consumed by the virtual world for which the game is played that they’ve blocked out real world hazards, like traffic, restricted areas and dangerous terrain. Some people even have thousands of Minecraft Servers that they can get to share with the people they play.The craze for games is not just a children’s thing.

Others, in pursuit of Pokémon characters, have engaged in distracted or reckless driving. Reckless driving is already a national problem attributing to 5,000 deaths a year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The Pokémon Go craze provides additional potential for harm with a number of high profile accidents taking place in the first two weeks of the game’s launch. In Baltimore, MD, a man slammed into a police cruiser while playing Pokémon Go. A driver in Auburn, NY slammed into a tree while playing the game. Thankfully, no major injuries were reported in either crash.

The same could not be said for two young men in California who fell nearly 90 feet from a cliff while chasing after a Pokémon character. Both were taking to a local trauma center with unspecified injuries. There are also reports of a 15-year-old girl in Western Pennsylvania who was hit by a car while playing the game and crossing a busy highway. She was treated for injuries to her collarbone and foot.

We at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. have a provided a few tips to help you stay safe while playing Pokémon Go:

  • Do not play Pokémon Go while driving – Thankfully, the people in the distracted driving examples that we mentioned previously were not fatally injured that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen in the future.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – It’s important to stay cognizant of your surroundings, not only to avoid walking on to roadways but to ensure that you are staying out of other dangerous situations, including armed robbery. Beware of suspicious situations.
  • Do not trespass on to others’ properties or restricted areas – Along with distracted driving and entering potentially dangerous situations, some Pokémon Go players have entered private property or restricted areas in order to be successful in the game. Both cases have already proved problematic and there have been a number of complaints about players entering areas of reflection like United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in search of characters.

What’s important to realize is that Pokémon Go, while engaging, is only a game and not worth incurring harm to yourself or others. If you are involved in an incident in which you are hurt, contact the catastrophic injury attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. They will work with you to ensure you get the justice you deserve. Contact them today at 844-511-4800.


Jason Westcott Related News Stories

Tampa Personal Injury Attorney TJ Grimaldi recently filled a lawsuit against the Tampa Police Department on behalf of the Westcott family

Mother of Jason Westcott Suing Tampa Police Department for Negligence

On the week of the two-year anniversary of Jason Westcott’s death, Westcott’s mother Patricia Silliman filed a lawsuit against the Tampa Police Department (TPD). The lawsuit states that TPD was negligent in their use of an informant, who had a history of violence and significant drug use. It also states that the police used “excessive force” when raiding Westcott’s home. The lawsuit disputes a police claim that Westcott was in a “shooting stance with his arm raised, holding a gun”, when police officers shot him. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that the police did not make their presence known as they entered the home.

On May 27th, 2014, TPD raided Westcott’s home on a tip from informant Ronnie Coogle, a known drug addict. Coogle told police that Westcott and his boyfriend Israel Reyes had a gun or guns with them at all times during “controlled purchases”. Coogle later admitted to the Tampa Bay Times that the information that he provided was false.

However, this information was the basis for a raid that left Westcott dead at the hands of Cpl. Eric Wasierski and Officer Edwin Perez, who are among a group of nine current and former members of the police department who are named in the suit. Former Tampa police Chief Jane Castor is among those named. The police department asserted in an investigation that ultimately ended with Wasierski and Perez being cleared of all wrongdoing by the Hillsborough County State’s Attorney, that Westcott grabbed his gun and was ready to fire it at the officers. However, Silliman’s attorney, TJ Grimaldi, counters that Westcott’s wounds are not consistent with someone who was aiming a gun. He also asserts that Westcott had no knowledge that the police were entering his home.

The lawsuit has caught the attention of local media, including the following stories by the Tampa Bay Times, Fox 13 News, and ABC Action News:

My Car Has Been Recalled – What Now?

Fiat Chrysler is facing record fines after announcing their latest recall of over two-dozen models. The company must buy back over 500,000 defective vehicles. Some vehicles impacted by the recall are Ram pickups and Jeep Cherokees from the 1990’s. The total civil fine the automaker faces is up to $105 million. The company’s most popular vehicle, the Ram pickup, has been identified to have defective steering parts that can cause drivers to lose control. The older Jeep models have issues with the fuel engine that could result in fire in a crash. Some repairs have been unsuccessful in correcting these issues, which is why Fiat Chrysler is forced to offer a buyback option.

If you are impacted by Fiat Chrysler’s massive recall, or another automobile maker’s recall, what exactly should you do? Typically, the first thing you’ll receive is a letter in the mail notifying you of your vehicle’s recall by the manufacturer.

The following items will be covered in the recall letter:

  • A description of the vehicle defect
  • Any potential risk that could be caused by the defect (this includes types of accidents and injuries that could occur if the defect is not fixed)
  • What to look for with respect to the defect
  • How the vehicle will be repaired (or whether the manufacturer intends to replace)
  • Instructions on handling the repair or replacement

The first thing you will want to do is carefully read through the instructions, which often will indicate for you to schedule an appointment with an authorized dealer by a certain date. The more serious the defect, the sooner you should take care of this matter to protect you and your family’s safety. All recall-related repairs should be taken care of free of charge.

You can learn more about vehicle recalls and conduct a VIN look-up to see whether your vehicle has been affected by visiting SaferCar.gov.

If you have been negatively impacted by a vehicle recall or involved in an automobile accident due to a vehicle defect, contact TJ Grimaldi at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. today to discuss your case.

How to Deal With “Pre-Existing” Injuries

If you are injured in an accident, it is very possible that it is not the first injury you’ve sustained.  Throughout our lives our bodies age and the potential to develop medical problems becomes a reality for many. These medical problems exist whether or not they’re related to negligence. Dealing with prior injuries or conditions can lead to complex issues in a personal injury case and you can opt for construction accident injury claims for very serious injuries.


The Need to Show Causation 

The basis of causation is one way defense attorneys representing negligent parties defend a case. Even if someone is truly negligent, it must be demonstrated the their negligence is the reason for causing your injuries. Many defense attorneys will argue that whatever pain, injury or disability you say you have from an accident actually “pre-exists” the accident, and thus is not caused by it. For example, if you have suffered from back pain most of your life, and someone rear ends the back of your car, and your only injuries are the same back pain as you had before, the defendant will argue there is a lack of causation, preventing you from recovery. The mechanical failure personal injuries can also affect a person badly and getting a lawyer can prove helpful in such cases.

This is a very easy defense to raise, simply due to the fact that we will surely have some sort of injury or ailment throughout our lives. Many of us live with routine daily aches and pains whether caused by a work injury, an injury playing sports, or other form of pain from the natural aging process.

Defeating the Pre-Existing Injury Defense

Fortunately, a good victim or personal injury attorney knows how to defeat these kinds of defenses. One way is simply using medical evidence to show that whatever injury or ailment you had before the accident is different than what you have now after the accident. Consider the example of back problems again. You may have had back pain before and after your accident. However, before your accident you may have had general muscle strain, but afterwards, you may have a herniated disc. The severity of pain could in fact be similar but objectively, these injuries are very different. The US citizens faced with personal injury claims in Canada can help with any injury related issues.

The law in Florida allows you to recover for exacerbation or aggravation of pre-existing injuries. This means that if an accident made your pre-existing condition worse, you still have a right to recover from the injury. Keep in mind that Florida has a threshold requirement that you must have suffered a permanent injury as a result of the accident. As such, you will need to follow your healthcare providers advice and obtain a legitimate medical opinion as to permanency.

If you are injured in an accident and make a claim, the insurance companies will inquire about your prior medical history and any pre-existing medical conditions. Since neck and back injuries are the most common injuries from motor vehicle collisions, they will certainly ask you about any neck or back pain you ever had before the accident, and if you have ever been diagnosed with any other medical conditions.  Again, medical experts will be used to show the extent of prior injuries, but the frequency of your medical treatment visits is also good evidence. It is important that you have an insurance such as a life insurance plan, you may consider lifecoverquotes page as a good place to visit.

Speak to an attorney who understands how to deal with this common defense. Talk to Tampa personal injury attorney TJ Grimaldi at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. for a consultation on your pre-existing injury case today.