The widely popular Pokémon Go smartphone game is taking the world by storm. Fifteen million Pokémon players have downloaded the application, and according to some experts, they are putting themselves — and others — in danger, and thereby creating a serious liability hazard. Many Pokémon players have walked or driven straight into peril, and suffered or caused car accidents, truck accidents, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents and injuries as a result.
In one recent case, a 28-year-old man drove his car straight into a tree because he was not paying attention to the roadway. Rather, he was looking at his Pokémon cellphone app. The man took his eyes off the road for a short moment and woke up later while riding in an ambulance. Fortunately, his injuries were no more than cuts on his legs and a broken ankle. However, this is not the only accident that has occurred across the nation. It is likely that other unreported accidents have and will continue to occur.
The big question is, who is liable for these accidents? One legal counselor says that the company that created Pokémon Go might be liable in some cases for claims of general negligence brought forward by schools, homeowners, museums or churches that suffer damage from Pokémon players. It is also likely that the Pokémon players themselves can be held liable for injuries and deaths caused by their negligence in failing to consider the safety of those around them. For example, if a truck driver is playing Pokemon while barreling down the interstate, he or she will likely not be paying close attention to the other drivers on the road and this could result in an accident. In the state of Washington, individuals who are hurt as a result of a Pokémon Go player’s negligence may want to consider filing a legal action to hold the player accountable in court.
Source: propertycasualty360.com/, “Hunting Pokémon raises liability issues when incidents happen,” Patricia Harman, accessed Aug. 12, 2016