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October 1, 2015

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Pokémon Go: South Carolina Legal Issues

July 28, 2016

A new mobile application is sweeping across South Carolina and the country. Pokémon Go has engulfed the free time of people young and old across the state. Even Governor Nikki Haley has gotten in on the craze. The application allows players to catch animated creatures in the real world. This is possible through technology that combines augmented reality and GPS tracking. Although the virtual world of this game has only existed for a short time, it is already causing real world legal problems including injuries, accidents and criminal charges.


Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving

Recently, an individual crashed into parked vehicle while playing the Pokémon Go application and driving a car. While South Carolina has not issued a warning, some states have urged drivers not to use the application while operating a vehicle. Unfortunately, a number of players are using their cars to travel while they play the game. The drivers are operating their vehicles at low speeds and may be driving erratically.


The Pokémon Go application may be adding to the incredibly high number of accidents related to distracted driving. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed in accidents and another 431,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents. Distracted driving can lead to serious injuries or deaths, because a driver is more focused on what they are doing rather than what is happening on the road. Accidents can happen in an instant, so even a short distraction can be dangerous.


South Carolina’s Distracted Driving Laws

South Carolina has a state law against texting while driving. The law says in part that it is unlawful for a person to compose, send or read a text while operating a vehicle. However, the penalty for violating the no-texting while driving law in South Carolina is the second cheapest in the nation. The law is currently unclear about using a phone for other distracting purposes while driving.


Arbitration Clause 

An additional legal problem presented by the application is how the application resolves legal disputes. When an individual downloads the application, they must agree to the terms of service. The terms of service have standard contract provisions about use of the game; however, it also has an arbitration clause. Unless you directly opt out of this clause, the arbitration clause waives your right to jury trial or to join a class action. Arbitration can make it difficult to recover the compensation you deserve if you have been in an accident. Arbitration agreements often favor those who wrote them and do very little to protect individual rights.


Get Help From a South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer

Distracted driving accidents can cause serious and lasting injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured by another’s negligence, do not delay.


Contact the experts at Surasky Law today for a free consultation on your case.



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