Pokemon Go and Personal Injury
The undisputed hit of the summer of 2016 is the augmented reality game Pokemon Go. The game operates on Android and Apple cellular and tablet devices and players attempt to “catch ‘em all”. As players walk through their communities, various Pokemon will appear on their phone’s maps program and players must search for the Pokemon and attempt to capture them. The creators of the game at Niantic provide a warning to users to be aware of their surroundings as they play, but some injuries have already been reported where users haven’t been paying attention, and have caused an accident leading to injury, either to themselves or others. Players have injured bystanders, pedestrians, bicyclists and people driving in their car while playing the game.
Pokemon Go Injuries
A common injury of Pokemon Go players is a slip and fall or trip and fall. Individuals have fallen into holes and ditches as a result of paying more attention to their screen than their surroundings. Others have fallen on bicycles and skateboards while playing Pokemon Go, receiving cuts, scrapes, and bruises. Of greater concern is when someone playing Pokemon Go isn’t paying attention and causes an accident that injures someone else.The worst potential for injuries exists when someone is driving a car and playing Pokemon Go. The game has a safety feature that allows it to function only when traveling at speeds of 20 MPH or less, but even at this speed severe and life-threatening injuries can be sustained when a vehicle collides with another object, or worse, a pedestrian.
Pokemon Go and Lawsuits
If someone causes an accident that hurts an innocent pedestrian or an innocent driver because they weren’t paying attention and were playing Pokemon Go, what are the remedies? It’s unlikely that someone that injures themselves playing the game because they weren’t paying attention could bring a lawsuit against Pokemon Go. If a game-player isn’t paying attention and injures someone else, the injured party could most likely bring a claim against the game-player for negligence, or carelessness. If a game-player is driving and playing Pokemon Go and causes a car accident, not only could the injured party bring a claim or lawsuit against the careless driver, but it’s possible the injured party could bring a claim for punitive damages. There is a statute that prohibits texting and driving in North Carolina, and it’s likely that playing Pokemon Go would violate that statute. Finally, there is a potential argument that an injured party could bring a claim or lawsuit against Niantic, the manufacturer of the game, because the built-in safety features of the game don’t prevent game-players from driving and playing the game at the same time, thus leading to the potential for car accidents.
Pokemon Go Safety
Pokemon Go can be a great game, providing an outlet for exercise and socialization, but some basic safety rules need to be followed:
- Never Drive and Play. Playing Pokemon Go and driving is considered the same as texting and driving, which is illegal and extremely dangerous.
- Don’t ride a bike or skateboard while your eyes are focused on the screen. Just as with driving, eyes need to be focused on the road ahead when riding a bike or skateboard.
- Stop to collect Pokemon Go creatures. When you are trying to “catch ‘em all”, make sure that you are standing still on firm ground.
- If you are injured while playing, seek medical attention and contact a personal injury attorney like Drew Haywood.
Contact the Law Office of Drew Haywood | Pokemon Go Injuries
If you are injured while you are playing Pokemon Go or by someone else who was playing the game, contact Drew Haywood, personal injury lawyer. A personal injury attorney can help you receive compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages related to your injuries. Contact the Law Office of Drew Haywood for a free consultation by calling 919-525-1775. The Law Office of Drew Haywood is proud to serve personal injury clients in Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Mebane, Hillsborough, Bahama, Carrboro, and other areas around the Triangle.