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Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin 1-866-900-7078

How to Play it Safe With Pokemon Go

Stabbings, robberies, trespassing, a dead body? This is not the 6 o'clock news.

It's the stark reality of the augmented reality game, Pokemon Go. Where players catch Pokemon by physically going to areas called PokeStops.

Hidden Dangers Playing Pokemon Go

Pokemon aren't the only characters hiding at these PokeStops. Criminals are too. They're lurking at PokeStops, and robbing and assaulting people who are looking for Pokemon.

Even getting to the PokeStops can cause hazards. Drivers are staring at their cell phones while driving in an attempt to catch Pokemon. And it's causing car wrecks. Some have even stopped their cars in the middle of the road for a catch!

People have walked into streets, zombie-like, with their eyes glued to their phones and been hit by cars. They've wandered onto military firing ranges, crashed weddings and even funerals for a catch. Sadly, a teenaged boy was shot and killed while playing near Guatemala City late at night.

Worldwide Pokemania

Just like a real scavenger hunt, this virtual hunt can be delightfully addictive! Pokemon Go allows you to enter the world of augmented reality through an app that uses GPS and augmentation technology to enable players to search for nearby Pokemon. The object of the game is to "catch 'em all."

It also offers a way for gamers and screen jockeys - anyone, really - to get up, get out, and get moving.

Within the first two weeks of the game's July 5, 2016 release, the app topped 15 million downloads, surpassing Facebook and Snapchat. Many churches and businesses have been promoting the app by becoming a PokeStop or by informing players of a Pokemon at their location in order to increase traffic and attention to their site.

pokemonGotta Catch 'em All!

The app requires that you walk around to locate Pokemon, so the game has been described as a great way to explore points of interest in your town or other areas. And it has been described as a great way to meet people or get some exercise. By looking at your phone screen, you can see the character superimposed onto your actual surroundings - just like you see in the image here.

Our headquarters overlooks the Durham Bulls Baseball Stadium, and we got to see first-hand how addictive this game can be when they opened the stadium to the public and dozens of Pokemon seekers of all ages converged on the baseball field to catch Pokemon. And not all Pokemon were outside our building. In fact, one of our paralegals captured Pidgedy during her lunch break right inside our hallways.

Pokemon and Potential Hazards

Falling victim to a crime or stumbling upon a crime

Four teens in Missouri were arrested after committing numerous armed robberies by using the Pokemon Go app to lure their victims to secluded areas. Another teenager in Wyoming was on a quest to find a water Pokemon, when instead she found a dead body floating in the lake.

Injuring yourself

Risking your life is not the key to winning Pokemon Go. One Pokemon gamer was stabbed by a man after the gamer asked if the man wanted to "battle." Obviously intending to battle on the app was not as clear to the attacker. After being stabbed, the gamer continued on his quest to find what he was looking for instead of immediately going to the hospital for medical treatment!

Accidents from distracted driving and walking

Pokemon can pop up anywhere any time. Whether you're walking down the street and Jigglypuff pops up a block away or you're driving and Charmander is at the corner store. Accidents can happen, even to the most attentive Pokemon player. People have gotten into accidents (even crashing into police cars) and have been hit by cars because they were distracted by the game instead of paying attention to their surroundings.

Trespassing

Trespassing has become epidemic since the release of Pokemon Go. Often Pokemon only appear at certain times, so players may hunt at varying hours of the night and early morning. The problem - some are located on private property, at businesses, or in city parks. Players can face criminal charges if they trespass on private property or at public places after allowed hours. Sadly, as we have seen, other players can face worse consequences by wandering out late at night in the wrong areas.

Pokemon Go - Playing it Safe

Be aware of your surroundings

Just because you see someone wandering around in the woods or staring at their phone - don't assume they are playing Pokemon. Use caution when going into secluded areas and approaching strangers. While the game can be a great opportunity to meet other players, be sure they have the same intentions.

Don't drive and catch

Do we really have to say this? Turn the game off and put the phone away. AAA Carolinas says playing Pokemon while driving is just as dangerous as texting and driving.

Distracted walking, too, can have dangerous consequences. Be vigilant and check your surroundings, particularly when crossing streets. Don't risk your life just because you see Dragonite on the other side of the road. No Pokemon character is worth your life - not even Dragonite.

Respect your city's curfew and business hours

If it's 3:00 a.m. and a Pikachu pops up near the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, don't go out to try to catch it. Only visit landmarks, businesses, private property, and historical sites during appropriate hours.

Put down the phone and enjoy the real life around you

While Pokemon Go can take you to attractions you've never been before, it defeats the purpose if you stare at your phone the whole time you're there. A benefit of the game is that it compels you to get off the couch, go outside, and maybe even get a little exercise.

After you are drawn to a new museum, garden, historical site, or neighborhood park, take a moment to explore the area with your eyes instead of your phone. You may gain something more incredible than a new critter or points on a game. Allow the Pokemon app to enhance your actual reality in addition to your virtual reality.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Evaluate Pokemon Injury Cases FREE

Here's something important to know about your right to compensation if you are injured playing the game. Unless you opt out of the game's terms of service, you may be waiving your right to litigation in the event you are injured - or are blamed for injuring someone else. So be careful and be smart.

If you are injured by someone playing Pokemon Go or believe it is as a result of negligence on the part of Niantic (the company that developed Pokemon Go) contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We offer more than 35 attorneys - many who are experienced in personal injury cases of all kinds.

And, unlike many of the Pokemon, you'll catch us any time day or night.

How Can I Negotiate With the Insurance Company for a Better Offer for My Car?

Car Accident_06082014_smIn a car accident, the at-fault insurance company may accept responsibility for the damage to your vehicle and make an offer to settle the property damage claim. You will almost always deal with the at-fault driver's insurance company through its adjuster. An adjuster is the person the insurance company hired to review and negotiate your claim. Typically, part of the adjuster's job is to try to minimize your claim in order to control costs for the company. When the insurance company accepts fault, and makes an offer, this will either result in repair of your vehicle, or they will decide the vehicle was a total loss and pay you for the vehicle's value.

If you are satisfied with the insurance company's first offer, then it is fine to accept it. However, what should you do if you do not believe the offer is fair? If you are not satisfied with the insurance company's offer, then you should arm yourself with information to negotiate with the insurance adjuster.

Offers to Repair

An insurance company will often offer to repair a vehicle if the cost of repairs plus supplemental claims equal less than 75% of the vehicle's pre-accident cash value. "Supplemental claims" include things like the projected rental vehicle costs during the repair period.

The pre-accident cash value is sometimes called the "fair market value." Fair market value is the price a willing buyer would pay a willing seller, when neither is being compelled to buy and/or sell, and both have reasonable knowledge about the relevant facts. When calculating repair costs versus value, insurance adjusters may use the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) publication, the "Official Used Car Guide," to determine the fair market value. The NADA is published monthly. It is available online at www.nadaguides.com.

While the insurance company may use the NADA book value to determine fair market value, the book is only a guide. There is more room to negotiate based on the actual condition of your vehicle.

You should get estimates for the amount of repairs your vehicle will need. After you get the estimates, and provide them to the insurance company, the insurance adjuster may make an offer over the telephone. If you do not agree with the telephone offer and the adjuster has never seen the damaged vehicle, then you can require the adjuster or the insurance company's appraiser to personally inspect your damaged vehicle.

If you do not agree with the settlement offered by the adjuster, you have the right to request that the adjuster send to you in writing the amount of the offer along with the specific policy provisions or legal basis the adjuster is relying on in support of the offer.

An adjuster may tell you they want you to take your car to a particular garage - typically, a garage with which they get a volume discount. However, you have the right to take your vehicle to any repair shop of your choosing.

Offers to Pay Cash Value for a Total Loss

Car Accident_07312014_SMA vehicle is legally considered a total loss if the cost of repairs and supplemental claims equal or exceed 75% of the fair market value. If this is the case, the liability insurance carrier is required to pay fair market value for the vehicle.

Fair market value is often determined via a local market survey. Local fair market value must be determined by using either the local market price of comparable vehicles or, if no comparable vehicles can be found, quotes from at least two qualified dealers within the local market area. If your vehicle was in better-than-average condition prior to the collision, the adjuster is required to give due consideration to this fact when determining value.

It is also important to note that the insurance company is not necessarily obligated to pay the full balance of an existing lien on the vehicle. If you owe more on the car than it is worth at the time of loss, all the insurance company has to pay is still fair market value, not the payoff amount.

You should require the adjuster to give you a written statement, along with the total loss payment. This statement should include estimates, evaluations and deductions used in calculating the payment, as well as stating the source of these values.


Complaints About the Insurance Company

Claims Adjustor_06132014_SMIf you have a complaint about an insurance company and the way they are handling your claim, you may call or write the Consumer Insurance Information Division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance. The toll-free telephone number is 855-408-1212. The mailing address is: North Carolina Department of Insurance, Consumers Services Division, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699.

The Consumer Services Division will take information from you and then an analyst from the Division will request information from the insurance company, agent or adjuster. If the analyst finds that there is just cause for the complaint then a recommendation will be made to both sides as to how to settle the situation. If this does not resolve the problem, a deputy commissioner may arrange a conference with the insurance company involved to resolve the problem. If the conference does not resolve the disputed issue, then the deputy commissioner may recommend to the commissioner that appropriate legal action be taken including a public hearing (filing a lawsuit).

Our Recommendation:  No Need For an Attorney Unless You Were Hurt

At our firm, we recommend you handle most property damage claims yourself. This can save you both time and money-you do not want to unnecessarily delay the property damage aspect of your claim, and it is often not cost effective to hire an attorney to pursue property damage.

However, if we represent you on a bodily injury claim related to the accident,

Whatever the size of your case, we believe you deserve the best representation and service we can provide. If you have questions, or want to see if we can help, give us a call at 1-866-900-7078.

How Hit & Runs Affect Your Ins. Rate (And 4 Steps to Minimize the Damage)

Being in a hit and run accident is frustrating, and to make matters worse, victims often are confused about how to proceed. After all, the accident wasn't your fault, so you shouldn't have to pay for the damages, right?

Right.

Police_06132014The best case scenario is that the driver who hit you is found and  has insurance, but that is often not the case. And even if the driver is found, they may not have liability insurance coverage anyway.

If the driver is not found (or doesn't have liability insurance), your damages will typically be paid under your policy's "uninsured / underinsured motorist" coverage, which all policy holders in North Carolina are required to have.

If you've been injured in a hit and run accident and want to speak with someone right now, click here to contact a NC hit and run lawyer.

Will Filing for Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage Affect my Insurance Rates?

The short answer is: it shouldn't. In most instances, if you're not deemed responsible for the accident, your rates should not go up in the state of North Carolina.

However, in our experience your insurance company is likely to try to minimize the amount you receive for damages, such as your medical bills, time out of work, and other losses. In some cases, they may even deny payment entirely!

The best defense against this is to:

1) Get Medical Care Immediately (and Consistently!)

Insurance companies view medical care as evidence. First, be sure to report everything, right away. There's no such thing as "too minor."

Something small like nose pain, could be an indication of a larger problem that could get worse and require surgery or other major work later on. If you didn't report it right away, your insurance company might say that it wasn't related to your accident and refuse to cover the costs.

On a related note, if you say you injured your lower back, but keep skipping your physical therapy appointments or don't seek medical help right away, your insurance company may use this against you to say that your claims aren't real or serious.

2)      Collect Evidence

Even if you report everything and get consistent medical care, an insurance company might still try to deny or lessen your compensation. If this happens, you may have to prove your claims and this can be a tall order.

Keep any damaged personal items, the clothing you were wearing the day of the accident (DO NOT wash it!) and all paperwork related to your insurance claims or medical treatments.

Collect any pictures that were taken of your injuries, vehicle damage, property damage, skid marks, street signs, and even the weather on the day of the accident, as these could be useful later on.

3)      Contact Your Local Police Department

Since a hit and run is a criminal offense, the police should be investigating your case. Let them know that you are willing to cooperate in whatever capacity and tell them everything you can about the accident - even if you're not sure that it's relevant.

Below are a few non-emergency numbers for police departments in North Carolina.

 

Don't see yours listed? Click here for a complete list of police departments in NC.

4)      Let a Professional Review (for free)

No matter how much evidence you collect, it's still very possible that your insurance company may offer you less than what you may deserve.

They may try to steer you otherwise, but before you settle, give a recorded statement, or sign anything, it's generally a good idea to have an attorney review your case to make sure you aren't signing away any rights or losing potential benefits.

Many accident attorneys will do this for free.

Afterwards, if you decide to hire a lawyer, he or she may be able to help investigate your case.

Want to know if you're being treated unfairly for your insurance claim? Click here to get a professional opinion or call us 24/7 at 1-866-900-7078.

We'll try to answer any questions you have and there's no obligation to hire us afterwards.

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

5848-100 Faringdon Place
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078