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July 28, 2016

Pokemon Go Accident Highlights the Dangers Associated with Apps and Driving

Dangers of Pokemon Go

If you watched the news or been online in the past few week, you have like heard of a new game that is being played by millions of people around the world known as Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go is a new and wildly popular app that was designed to be used with people’s smartphones and utilizes augmented reality, a technology that augments the real world with computer-generated enhancements. The app broke the Apple App Store’s record for the number of downloads during the first week it was available and has some 9.5 million active daily users according to some estimates.1

How the App Works

If you have not tried Pokemon Go, this all may sound very confusing. For the uninitiated, here is a brief explanation of the way in which the app operates. Users control an avatar in the game by moving around the real world. The app uses the locational tracking functionality of smartphones to place the avatar on a map that is analogous to the player’s real world location. The player goes through the real world looking for Pokemon, which are fictional creatures that they can capture and train. When they are in range of a Pokemon, their phone uses the camera function to superimpose an image of the Pokemon character on an image of the real world, which they can then capture by throwing Pokeballs at it. Furthermore, players can visit “Pokestops” and “Gyms” in order to collect game-related items and battle with other players.

Playing Pokemon Go Requires a Significant Amount of Attention

Because taking your avatar through the Pokemon Go world requires you to move through the real world, many players look down at their phones as they are walking from place to place in order to make sure they are heading in the direction of the Pokemon they are trying to catch. If you have noticed people in the area looking at their phones more than normal and then stopping to flick their screen repeatedly, it is very likely that you are watching someone playing the game.

Whenever a person is looking at his or her phone, it is taking their attention away from their surroundings. Recognizing this fact, the game’s maker has placed a conspicuous warning on the game’s startup screen reminding players to be careful and to always be aware of their surrounds, but not all players are heeding this advice.

The First Pokemon-Go Related Car Accident Occurred in Less than a Week

Pokemon Go was released on July 6th of this year. According to a report published on CNET, not a week later, a man in Auburn, New York crashed into a tree while playing the game, marking perhaps the first accident caused by a driver distracted by Pokemon Go. While no one was injured in that accident, so long as drivers are using the app, there is a risk of a serious injury-causing accident occurring due to distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Often Entitles Victims to Compensation

Fortunately for people who are injured by distracted drivers, the fact that a driver was distracted and caused an accident is usually sufficient to recover compensation. While Pokemon Go and other smartphone-based activities can certainly result in significant distractions, distractions can also occur in much less high-tech ways. Some of the more common examples of driver distractions that can lead to accidents include the following:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Grooming
  • Applying makeup
  • Reading
  • Talking on the phone
  • Looking at scenery
  • Searching for objects in the car
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Using a GPS device

People who were distracted when an accident occurred may be reluctant to admit that fact to law enforcement or the other parties involved in the accident. For this reason, it is critical for victims to retain an attorney in order to make sure that their legal rights are protected.

Call a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

If you have been injured by a driver who was using their smartphone or otherwise distracted, you should contact an experienced lawyer as soon as you can. At the Levin Law Firm, we are committed to helping people who have been injured by the negligence of another person to recover for their losses. Best of all, we offer free consultations and will charge you nothing in legal fees unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. To schedule your free case evaluation with a skilled Philadelphia car accident lawyer, call our office today at 215-825-5183 or send us an email through our online contact form.

1 http://www.recode.net/2016/7/13/12181614/pokemon-go-number-active-users

2 http://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/that-didnt-take-long-first-car-crash-attributed-to-pokemon-go-in-new-york/

July 21, 2016

Beware of Accidents Over Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Accidents

Labor Day weekend is always the mark that the end of summer is near. School has started, the weather is about to get cooler, and the majority of Americans have a three-day weekend to celebrate how hard they work the rest of the year. Many people planning short trips, outings, or parties to mark the holiday with their families and friends. Unfortunately, along with the food, family, and fun comes the risk of accidents and injuries over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

The following are only some examples of why the risks of accidents and injuries may increase over this holiday weekend, so you can be aware of the risks and work to prevent injuries whenever possible. If injuries do occur, you should discuss your legal options with an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident.

Drunk driving accidents

Holidays are a prime time for drunk driving and the accidents that result from intoxicated drivers. Holiday gatherings tend to involve alcohol and, during long holiday weekends like Labor Day, many people drink all afternoon and into the evening. Whether a person is at a family barbecue or a bar, they should never ever consider getting behind the wheel of a car after having too much to drink. Not every driver makes the responsible decision, however, and accidents and injuries can happen.

The increased risks for drunk driving are demonstrated by a more concentrated effort on the part of law enforcement and government agencies to deter and catch drunk drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsors national enhanced drunk driving enforcement1 during the end of summer through the Labor Day weekend. “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” will kick into gear from August 17th to September 5th this year, spreading safety awareness and increasing law enforcement presence to try to prevent drunk drivers. These efforts cannot prevent all drunk driving, so you need to be as aware and safe as possible over this weekend to prevent accidents.

Water-related accidents

Another favorite pastime over Labor weekend is to head out and enjoy the water on one of the last summer weekends. Many swimming pools close after this holiday weekend, so many pools have large crowds during this time to end the season. Crowds can increase the hazards and decrease the supervision in or around swimming pools, which can lead to drowning or near-drowning accidents.

In addition, many families and groups of friends take off to spend the weekend on lakes and rivers. Boats, jet skis, tubes, and other water sports equipment are fun and relaxing yet they always bring the risk of injuries. Spend the day on the water often involves drinking and music and other forms of entertainment, which can make it easy to become distracted and ignore safety measures. Drunk, distracted, or inexperienced boat drivers can often be involved in boat accidents that can injure many people on board the boat. Anytime water is involved, there is the risk of serious drowning incidents or other traumatic injuries.

Recreational accidents

Besides driving and water, celebrations and long weekends can come with the risks of many other types of accidents and injuries. Only some of these recreational accidents involve the following:

  • Burns or fires from grills or bonfires
  • Injuries suffered in softball, soccer, golf, or other sports
  • ATV accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Dog bites,2 especially at BBQs or gatherings
  • Motorcycle accidents

Many of these accidents happen because of someone else’s negligence. If another party caused your injuries, you have the right to recover for your losses and hold them liable for their negligent actions. This Labor Day, please take as many home and recreational safety precautions3 as you can in whatever type of celebration you choose. However, if you are injured, it is important to know your legal rights.

Call for a Free Consultation with an Experienced Philadelphia Accident Attorney

If your holiday weekend is marred by an accident and injuries, you should not delay in calling a skilled personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia. At The Levin Firm, we have helped many clients and their families to obtain full compensation for the injuries and losses they have sustained in a wide variety of accidents. We will always stand up for your rights to recover for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, among other losses and will work for the most favorable settlement or award possible in your case. If you would like more information about how we can help you, please call 215-825-5183 today.

1http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/LaborDayWeekend

2http://www.cdc.gov/features/dog-bite-prevention/

3https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/

July 7, 2016

A New School Year can Expose Your Child to New Risks of Injury

school injuriesWith a new school year just a few weeks away, many people in the area are preparing to send their child off to start a brand new academic year. The start of the school year often involves many new experiences: new friends, new teachers, new subjects to learn, and sometimes even an entirely new school. Unfortunately, it may also expose your child to the risk of injury during their commute to school, particularly if they are starting a new school or are at an age when you feel that it appropriate and safe to allow them to get to and from school on their own.

Fortunately for parents, there are certain things that you can do to make sure that your child’s walk or bike ride to school is as risk-free as possible. These include the following:

  • Choose the Safest Possible Route to and from Your Child’s School – Before the year starts, map out the safest route available to and from your child’s school. For example, if possible, avoid busy intersections and streets with a high volume of traffic. If you have a choice between an intersection that utilizes a morning and afternoon crossing guard and one that does not, always use the one with the crossing guard. Finally, choose a route that minimizes the number of times that your child is required to cross the street.
  • Make Sure Your Child Wears Bright Colors and is Visible – In order for motorists to be able to avoid pedestrians and bicyclist, they need to be able to see them. Children are often difficult to see to begin with due to the fact that they are smaller than adults, so it is imperative to make sure your child wears bright colors when he or she is walking or biking to and from school. As the majority of the year occurs during months where your child will be wearing a jacket or coat, one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to buy a brightly colored coat. If any part of your child’s commute happens when it is dark out, give him or her a flashlight to carry or make sure his or her bike is outfitted with a both a headlight and a taillight.
  • Clearly Express the Safety Rules Your Child is Expected to Follow – It is critical to make sure your child is aware of the rules that you expect him or her to follow on the way to or from school. For example, make it clear that your child can only use the route that you have approved and that he or she should never run out into the street. If possible, make sure that your child has a friend or friends with whom he or she will plan on walking or biking with each day. Finally, make it clear that your child should not run, push, or chase other children when they are near the roadway.

What Should You Do if Your Child is Injured on the Way to or from School?

Unfortunately, accidents are bound to happen even under the best of circumstances, and it is impossible to reduce the risk of injury for anyone who commutes anywhere to zero, no matter how much want to.  In the event that your child is injured on the way to or from school, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that his or her legal rights to recover compensation are protected. Some of these include the following:

  • Have Your Child see a Physician Immediately – This step is important even if you do not think that your child has been serious injured. Injuries like mild concussions1 or whiplash2 may not be apparent right away but have the potential to cause serious and long-term complications. If you wait to have them diagnosed even for a few days, it can be difficult to prove they were caused by your child’s accident, jeopardizing his or her right to compensation.
  • Call a Lawyer – If your child has been injured in an accident, you should retain legal counsel as soon as his or her condition is stable. Retaining an attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and that your child obtains the full value of his or her legal claim.

Call a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you or your child has been injured in an accident that you think may have been caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you should speak with an attorney as soon as you can. In many cases, victims are able to recover compensation for a variety of losses, including their medical bills, lost income, loss of future earning potential, property damage, and physical and emotional pain and suffering, among others. To learn more about how a skilled Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can help you, call The Levin Firm today at 215-825-5183 or send us and email through our online contact form.

1 http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/symptoms.html

2 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/whiplash/basics/definition/con-20033090

May 19, 2015

Be Prepared If You Plan to Bike-Share

Bike's Parking

A hot new trend making its way across the United States has finally arrived in Philly: bike-sharing. Bike-sharing programs are currently active or in pre-launch stages1 in numerous cities in the country, and Philadelphians have been hearing about the possibility of their own bike-sharing program for years. Finally, on May 1, 2015, the bike-sharing program in our city went live, run by the company Indego. While bike-sharing immediately proved popular in Philly—with 8,000 riders in the first week alone2—there are some safety concerns and necessary preparations of which all bike-sharers should be aware.

What is bike-sharing?

Indego has placed 67 kiosks around Philly holding a total of 500 bright blue bicycles among them. Anyone can rent a bicycle from one kiosk, ride around the city, and return it to the nearest kiosk that is convenient for them. There are three different options for renting bikes from an Indego kiosk:

  • Get an Indego30 Cash membership – $15 per month allows you to rent any bike for free for an hour (and at a cost of $4 for additional hours) an unlimited amount of times during the month.
  • Get an IndegoFlex membership – $10 per month allows you to rent any bike for $4 per hour during the month.
  • Walk-up – Anyone can walk up to a kiosk, swipe their credit card, and rent a bike at a rate of $4 per half hour.

A nominal fee will allow Philadelphians and visitors alike to use bicycles to get from place to place, exercise, or simply explore the city.

Be warned: helmets are not provided

Though bike-sharing is a widely viewed as an excellent addition to Philly, the biggest concern regarding the program is the safety of riders. Many people who decide to rent bikes may be relatively inexperienced riders, which can create a high risk for accidents especially if they are riding on busy streets. Riders may also be at additional risk of injury because Indego bike rentals do not include one very important safety item—helmets.

Bike-sharing programs have long addressed the fact that they do not provide helmets as part of their rentals. First, they would have to provide a variety of helmet sizes to accommodate all riders. Having this many helmets available can be unwieldy and would increase the necessary size of the kiosks, possibly limiting their locations. Additionally, many people may have hygiene concerns wearing helmets that other riders have worn in the same day. It would be nearly impossible for the helmets to be properly sanitized between each use.

Bring your own helmet

Simply because Indego does not provide helmets with the rental bikes does not mean that bike-sharers should not wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet anytime you ride a bicycle is imperative to limit the chances of suffering a traumatic brain injury should you fall off your bike or be involved in a collision. A traumatic brain injury (TBI)3 can occur due to any type of bump or blow to the head. TBIs can range from minor concussions to major and irreparable brain damage, though even relatively minor brain injuries can require medical attention and treatment.

The United States Department of Transportation4 reports that wearing a bicycle helmet limits the risk of brain or head injuries by 85 to 88 percent, making it the primary way to avoid TBI and even death should a bike accident occur. For this reason, absolutely everyone should wear a helmet when riding a bike, even if they are bike-sharing.

Additionally, if you are considering bike-sharing with your family, you should be aware that Pennsylvania law5 requires all children under the age of 12 to wear a helmet while riding a bike. There are not exceptions for bike-sharers to this law, so if you do not provide helmets for your kids, you are not only putting them at risk of injury but also may receive a citation from law enforcement.

In short, everyone participating in Philly’s new bike-share program should be certain to think ahead and bring a helmet to wear. If you do not own helmets, you can often rent them from bicycle shops around town.

What happens if you are injured during a bike-share?

If you are involved in a collision while riding a bike around Philly due to a negligent driver, the driver should be held responsible for your injury-related losses. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we are committed to helping injured bicyclists recover, so please call our office at 215-825-5183 for a free consultation.

References:

1http://bikeshare.com/map/
2http://www.phillymag.com/be-well-philly/2015/05/01/indego-philly-bike-share-locations/
3http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/basics/definition/con-20029302
4http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/docs/b_helmetlaws.pdf
5http://nova.pasenategop.com/brochures/bike-helmet-adult.pdf

December 15, 2014

Can I recover for my Bicycle Accident Injuries?

bicycle accident about to occurAs reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 50,000 bicyclists suffered injuries in traffic-related accidents in 2012 alone.[1] Many of these injured bicyclists naturally wonder: how can I hold a driver responsible for my injuries? Your first step after a bicycle accident should always be to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for free. A lawyer can advise you on whether or not you have the right to recover depending on the facts of your particular case.

Determining negligence

Often, drivers collide into bicyclists because they are not paying attention, not following traffic laws, or acting in an otherwise negligent manner. Not surprisingly, most drivers will not readily come forward and admit that they were distracted or failed to yield or made some other type of mistake. For this reason, identifying negligence in a bicycle accident often requires further investigation and analysis.

One sign that often helps determine who was at fault in a bicycle accident is the type of collision that occurred. The four most common types of bicycle accidents are as follows:

  • The Side Swipe – this collision usually happens when a motorist fails to properly look for a bicyclist prior to changing lanes.
  • Rear-end Collisions – a driver may hit a bicycle from behind if he or she is following the bicycle too closely, misjudges the bicycle’s speed, is speeding, or is driving in an otherwise aggressive manner. Conversely, the bicyclist may collide with the rear-end of a car if the driver stops suddenly and without warning.
  • The “Left Cross” – this occurs when a driver attempts to make a left turn at an intersection and runs into a bicyclist traveling in the opposite direction. It also may happen that a vehicle turns in front of a bicyclist, who then does not have time to stop and subsequently runs into the car.
  • The “Right Hook[2] – the opposite of a Left Cross, this collision results from a driver trying to pass a bicyclist on the left side and then turn right in front of the bicyclist. This often happens when a driver is impatient with the relatively slow speed of a bicycle.

The type of collision that occurred can speak volumes as to the potentially negligent acts of the driver involved, and a Philadelphia bicyclist accident lawyer can help you recover whenever possible.

[1] http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812018.pdf

[2] http://cyclingsavvy.org/2013/09/smart-moves-video-preventing-right-hooks/

 

October 15, 2014

Can I Sue if I am Rear-Ended while Riding My Bike?

rear ended on bikeBicycling can be a healthy and cost-effective way to get around Philadelphia, and our city is known as one of the more “bicycle-friendly” cities in the country. Unfortunately, thousands of people each year are injured while riding, sometimes seriously. When bicycles and motor vehicles get into accidents, the injuries can range from minor bumps and bruises to much more serious injuries that could permanently affect your quality of life and ability to live independently. As a result, it is extremely important that anyone injured in a Philadelphia bicycle accident consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

One of the most dangerous kinds of accidents that can happen to bicyclists is being rear-ended by a truck or car. Rear-ended cyclists could potentially be thrown from their bikes or even run over by other vehicles, potentially resulting in disastrous consequences. Fortunately for victims, bicyclists that are rear-ended may be able to recover for their losses by filing a Philadelphia personal injury lawsuit. In addition, Pennsylvania law presumes that a driver who rear-ends another person is at fault for the accident, making recovery after a rear-end bicycle accident likely. Some of the more common reasons that cars and trucks rear-end bicycles include the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Faulty brakes
  • Driving while impaired
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Tire blowouts
  • Driver fatigue
  • Mechanical failure
  • Driver error

These and other causes of bicycle accidents could indicate negligence on the part of a driver who rear-ends a bicyclist. The best way to determine whether you have a claim is to discuss the circumstances of your case with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney. After a bicycle accident, it is important that victims seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries may not develop symptoms for some time after an accident, and having them diagnosed by a professional can significantly help in establishing legal liability. Finally, be certain to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident, as any delay may jeopardize your ability to recover.

 

August 18, 2014

What If I Suffer An Eye Injury?

eye injuryMany accident victims suffer life-altering injuries that can require extensive treatment or even leave a person permanently disabled and unable to ever return to life as usual. One type of injury that can be particularly devastating and difficult to deal with is an injury affecting one or both eyes. Many eye injury victims suffer partial or total vision loss that may be either temporary or permanent. Even temporary vision loss can have a severe effect on a person’s life, requiring expensive medical care and keeping a person from working or performing everyday life activities. If you received an eye injury in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to receive significant compensation for your losses.

Eye injuries commonly occur in several different types of preventable accidents, including the following:

  • Truck or car accidents
  • Motorcycle or bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Construction or other industrial accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Burns from flame, heat, or chemicals
  • Accidents due to defective products
  • Blunt trauma or puncture wounds to the head or eye

Such accidents can cause corneal abrasions or lacerations, ruptured globes, damage to the surface of the eye, hemorrhaging, or damage to the optic nerve. Such injuries often may require emergency medical care, visits to an ophthalmologist with experience in eye trauma, surgery, therapy, and more. Sometimes, eye injury victims require ongoing monitoring of their eyes since traumatic injuries can lead to scarring, glaucoma, or other complications down the road.

Many eye injury victims face piles of medical bills from lost income from time missed from work. Additionally, most eye injuries are extremely painful and make life very difficult if their vision has been affected. If you bring a legal claim, you may receive compensation for your financial losses, as well as non-financial losses such as pain and suffering.

July 29, 2014

What are Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Philadelphia?

Thousands of bicyclists can be seen on the streets of Philadelphia every day. Philadelphians may choose to ride bicycles to commute to work, to save money on gas, to avoid parking challenges, to stay physically fit, or simply for recreation. No matter what their reason, however, bicyclists are at risk of serious collisions and accidents every time they decide to ride. Even if a bicyclist wears a proper helmet, the rest of their bodies are left almost completely unprotected in the event of an accident. For this reason, bicyclists often suffer extremely serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries if they are involved in an accident.

Though motorists are expected to “share the road” with bicyclists, many drivers do not pay proper attention or use enough caution. Other reasons may also contribute to serious accidents for bicycle riders. Some common reasons for bicycle accidents include the following:

  • Distracted drivers
  • Aggressive drivers
  • Intoxicated or otherwise impaired drivers
  • Failure to yield
  • Failure to check mirrors or blind spots before turning
  • Speeding, running red lights, or violating other traffic laws
  • Not checking mirrors before opening a car door
  • Potholes, uneven pavement, or other road defects

These are only a few examples of how other parties may act in a negligent fashion to cause a bicycle accident. If a driver or other party’s negligence caused you injury, that party should be held responsible for their actions and you deserve to receive a fair settlement.

If you have been the victim of an accident while riding a bicycle and you believe the accident was someone else’s fault, you deserve to be fully compensated for any accident related losses or injuries.

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