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Taking selfies too far

It was bound to happen. The obsession many people have with taking selfies is causing serious injuries and death. Most selfies are harmless, but when people are not aware of their surroundings or purposely take risks, the results can be tragic.

Rolling Stone reports that selfie-related deaths topped deaths by shark attack in 2015. The website Priceonomics calculated at least 49 deaths since 2014, although that number may have increased since the report's release in January 2016.

How does it happen?

According to the Priceonomics' data, 30 percent of selfie-related deaths are the result of falls from elevated heights. The next most common cause is drowning.

Some of the many reasons deaths occur while taking a selfie include:

  • Falling off a building, a bridge, a cliff or down a set of steps
  • Taking a selfie while swimming, boating or standing near dangerous currents
  • Getting hit by a train
  • Being hit by lightning
  • Being attacked by animals
  • Taking a selfie with guns or other weapons
  • Being hit by a car or taking a selfie while driving

In most of these instances, common sense and awareness of their surroundings would have prevented the deaths. But what happens when the person taking the photo causes an injury to another party?

Who is liable in these situations?

People who knowingly place themselves in danger while taking a selfie will likely have difficulty recovering compensation. However, if a person taking a selfie causes injury to another party, the selfie-taker may be liable.

For example, if a person takes a selfie while driving and injures passengers in his or her car, or causes an accident with another vehicle or pedestrian, that driver would be the negligent party. Each case will be unique, though, and discussing it with a lawyer is the best way to understand how the law will apply.

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