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Pokémon Go and the rise in traffic accidents

According to a study conducted by two Purdue University professors, the smartphone-based game Pokémon Go has contributed to an increase in traffic accidents. While their data was culled from the car crash reports made in another state, their conclusions can be applied to Connecticut and the rest of the U.S.

The data specifically covered the months before the July 2016 launch of Pokémon Go and the months after it in Indiana. The authors compared car crash rates between both time periods and noticed an increase in traffic accidents; they then noted whether these accidents, nearly 12,000 in all, took place in intersections near a Pokéstop or in intersections far away from one. The former, they discovered, saw a 26.5 percent increase in the number of accidents.

Pokéstops are especially dangerous because players travel to these locations to pick up in-game items. The study estimates that in the entire U.S., there were 145,000 more crashes, 29,000 more injuries, and 250 more deaths near Pokéstops in the months following the game's release than in previous months. The data does not account for accidents that occurred farther away from Pokéstops.

Though Pokémon Go is not as popular as it once was, game developer Niantic is developing a follow-up game. Phone-related distractions continue to be a major concern.

Distractions of all kinds can lead to car accidents, so when victims know they're not at fault, they may want to see a lawyer about filing a claim. The lawyer might bring in investigators to strengthen the case with proof of the other driver's negligence. Auto insurance companies may deny victims a settlement, but a lawyer may be able to handle the negotiations and litigate as a last resort. If successful, a claim might compensate the victim for vehicle damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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Mark H. Pearson, Attorney at Law
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