Articles Posted in Safety

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Pokémon Go has swept the country and the world in the past month, with millions of users downloading the app. The game has gotten particular attention because it’s the first widely successful use of a technology known as augmented reality. This allows users to be inside a game while viewing the real outside world. Though visually interesting, some have raised questions about whether the app might be to blame for causing injuries to users. Given recent reports of harm to players, legal experts say it’s all but inevitable that personal injury claims will result. To learn more about such potential claims, keep reading.

First, there have been reports in recent weeks of a multitude of injuries occurring to players of Pokémon Go. News reports indicate that serious accidents occurred in California, New York and Pennsylvania to name a few. People have been injured walking into traffic, walking off cliffs and entering buildings or places they shouldn’t have been in. These injuries are precisely what could cause users to sue Niantic Inc., the developer and publisher of Pokémon Go.

So what has Niantic done to reduce its potential liability? For starters, anyone who has ever played the game knows that it begins with a big warning screen. Users must click “OK” before they are even allowed to play the game. The opening screen warns players to be alert and aware of their surroundings at all times. Niantic has since begun periodically pushing pop-up messages with similar warnings. These kinds of warning messages are important when a company is afraid of lawsuits related to injuries that were reasonably foreseeable. In this case, it’s arguably reasonably foreseeable that a person could get hurt playing an augmented reality game that requires them to stare at their phone while walking around outside.

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Most parents spend time and money trying to pick out just the right stroller, reading reviews or asking for recommendations from friends and family members. The hope is that by spending energy hunting down the best stroller, you increase the likelihood your child is safe and sound when out for a walk.

While strollers are generally safe when used properly, a point that should be underlined given the alarming new research, experts say that strollers may be more dangerous than some parents might think. Strollers can actually cause serious harm in some cases, especially when parents don’t know how to use the strollers properly.

A recent study was published in the journal “Academic Pediatrics”, which reached the troubling conclusion that 361,000 children under 5 have been treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. between 1990 and 2010, all with stroller-related injuries. This breaks down to a shocking rate of two children every hour, or nearly 50 young kids per day.

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If you’ve been injured, whether at work, in a car accident, at a store, the advice is the same: be exceedingly careful what you post on social media. Even seemingly routine interactions online can be twisted and used against you by an insurance company or defense attorney. Before you know it, a status update, private message or fun photograph could be the thing that undermines your personal injury claim. To learn more about the dangers of social media on personal injury cases, keep reading.

For one thing, social media posts can be used to undermine claims of physical injury. If you’ve been hurt and have filed a claim, you are likely asking for compensation related to medical bills as well as compensation for noneconomic harm, such as pain and suffering related to your physical injury. You’d be surprised just how easily social media posts can undercut such claims. A real life example happened in the case of a woman who sued after a rear-end car collision left her seriously injured. The defense attorneys scoured her Facebook profile and discovered a photograph of her dancing with her brother after the accident had occurred. The defense argued this photo proved not only that she wasn’t suffering from a serious physical injury, but that she had experienced no loss of enjoyment of life. The judge agreed and ruled against the plaintiff.

Social media posts can also be used to undercut claims of psychological distress. A common complaint is that people who have suffered a serious physical injury now suffer from anxiety, depression and isolation, and are simply unable to enjoy their lives in the way they were previously able. Defense attorneys and investigators can use Twitter messages, Snapchat posts and Facebook messages to tell a very different story. Pictures of you smiling and having a good time can be used against you as can even seemingly innocuous messages from friends wishing you well, proof that you aren’t isolated and have been able to maintain a strong social network.

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When summer rolls around it almost results in more yard work. It’s sunny and hot, the grass is green and that means it’s time to get out the lawnmower. Though lawn maintenance is typically uneventful, that is sadly not always the case and it can come as a real shock when something as simple as mowing the grass turns deadly. That’s just what happened this past week in Mississippi, where two incidents involving lawnmowers left one man seriously injured and another dead.

The first incident occurred in Yazoo City, MS, earlier this week when a man died in a lawnmower accident. According to police, the man, Ronnie Warren, was operating a zero-turn mower to cut grass. The homeowners say they noticed later in the evening that something was wrong when they realized that they hadn’t seen Warren in some time. They left their house to see if they could find him and discovered that Warren was trapped under the mower.

Authorities say that the homeowners attempted to revive Warren, but it was too late. Investigators believe that Warren was cutting grass on the edge of a steep hill when the mower hit something, perhaps a bump or a hole, and lost balance. When that happened the mower, and Warren, rolled down the hill, with the mower landing on top of Warren. The man died of a broken neck and severe head injuries.

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Tesla has been cool for years now, ever since the first car rolled off the assembly line people have been clamoring to get their hands on one. Those with enough money to pay for the pricey early models had to tolerate months-long waitlists. One reason for the excitement is how technologically cutting edge the vehicles are. Not only are the cars fully electric, but a host of snazzy features have captured the country’s attention and curiosity.

One excellent example is the feature known as “Autopilot”. As the name implies, once a driver turns on the Autopilot feature, the vehicle will essentially control itself. Drivers often take their hands of the steering wheel and marvel as the vehicle moves itself, steering, braking and accelerating, all on its own. Though the feature is undoubtedly neat, many questions have arisen in recent weeks about what this feature may mean for the company from a legal perspective following the death recent death of a driver who had the Autopilot feature engaged.

According to news reports, the deadly crash occurred on May 7th in Florida. The car was heading down a highway with Autopilot turned on when a white tractor trailer crossed the road in the path of the Tesla. Neither the driver nor the Autopilot system detected the tractor trailer against a very bright sky, so the brake was never applied. The car drove straight into the side of the trailer, slicing off the top half of the vehicle. The driver died immediately.

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Most people think of riding four-wheelers as relatively harmless fun. In fact, the all-terrain vehicles are seen as safe enough that children can ride them. The problem is that ATVs are still motorized vehicles and can cause serious harm given the right circumstances. This is doubly true when the ATVs are allowed out on public roadways where they can encounter much larger and faster passenger vehicles.

Police in Fulton, MS say they are investigating a case where an 11-year-old boy died while out for a ride on his four-wheeler. Police say that details are still sketchy, but it appears that he was on his ATV on Van Buren Road in the mid-afternoon when he was hit by a car. The driver of the automobile was also injured in the accident and taken to a hospital for treatment.

So far no charges have been filed against the driver of the vehicle. Police say they that the Mississippi Highway Patrol will investigate the accident and what may have led to the deadly crash. They will even bring in accident reconstructionists to help recreate the crash scene.

Everyone should know by now that distracted driving is dangerous. In fact, studies show that distracted driving presents many of the same risks, both to occupants of the vehicle and unsuspecting drivers on the road, as drinking and driving. Given these dangers, some law enforcement officials in Mississippi have decided to crack down on texting while driving, one of the most egregious (and easily prevented) forms of distracted driving.

Many people may be unaware that a law was passed in Mississippi last year that ratcheted up penalties for those found texting while driving. Thankfully, some police departments took notice and have used the new rules to enforce responsible driving. The sheriff in Harrison County, MS has especially targeted distracted drivers since coming into office only a few months ago. Deputies in that department have already written nearly two-dozen texting while driving tickets and say they expect to write even more come the summer when fines associated with the infraction rise.

Currently, the law says that fines will increase from $25 per incident to $100 per incident. The law says that drivers are specifically prohibited from sending or receiving text messages, emails or social media posts while operating a motor vehicle. Most drivers, except for those operating school buses, will be allowed to send and receive phone calls.

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When a person heads off to work in the morning the last thing he or she thinks is that a workplace accident will occur that results in permanent disability. You assume that your company and the supervisors empowered to watch over operations make worker safety a priority, implementing procedures to guarantee that no one suffers avoidable harm. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some companies are too lax when it comes to their employees’ safety and fail to take action to prevent accidents from occurring until it’s too late.

Recently, a major manufacturer in Mississippi, Corinth-based Mississippi Polymers Inc., was slapped with a fine for serious violations uncovered by an OSHA investigation. OSHA (the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration) says the company committed 11 safety violations and must now pay a $56,300 fine due to the problems that were revealed.

The investigation into Mississippi Polymers began last year when two workers were seriously injured within a week of each other. OSHA says it first got word that in late September a worker sustained a severe injury when his hand got caught in a print roller and was badly crushed. Only six days later a second worker, a mill operator, had her hand caught in another print roller. In that case, the crush injury was so severe that a portion of her pinky finger had to be amputated.

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The chief administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an important press release earlier this week. The announcement was significant not only because it impacts the lives and safety of tens of millions of school children across the country, but also because it represents an about-face for the NHTSA.

Though seat belts have long been required in passenger and commercial vehicles, an exception existed for vehicles designed to carry multiple passengers, such as motor coaches and school buses. For years, the NHTSA has counted itself among those groups opposed to putting seat belts on school buses. Their argument was always that school buses are already the safest way for children to get to and from school (a fact backed up by statistics). Given the perceived safety of school buses, the logic was that it didn’t make sense to invest the time and money it would take to overhaul the millions of buses already on the road. Opponents of belts on buses argued that a simple cost-benefit analysis showed that the number of lives saved was not worth the potentially great cost.

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There will be many children out trick-or-treating and attending various fall activities. Here are some safety tips you can follow this Halloween to have a safe and fun night.

Make sure all costumes are safe and fit properly. They should not be too tight or too big. If you have on a mask, you want to make sure you can see out of the mask properly to prevent you from falling or tripping. You should not use any sharp or extra large props with your costumes. If you are applying any type of product to your skin, you should always try it on a small area before applying to entire area. You want to do this to prevent the possibility of any type of irritation or allergic reaction.

You should also always go trick-or-treating with friends or family. You should never go trick-or-treating alone. Take any and all precautions when walking in the streets at nighttime. To make sure all drivers can see you, put various reflectors on your costumes or trick-or-treating bags. You can also use a flashlight while trick-or-treating so that you can see where you are going. Illumination is key! With heavy rain in the forecast, it is even more important to remain visible and trick-or-treat in well lit areas. Always remember to look both ways before crossing the street. Try to use crosswalks or sidewalks at any time you can. If there are no crosswalks or sidewalks then walk as far toward the edge of the road as you can, facing the traffic to stay safe. You should not enter homes and never ride with strangers.

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