Nintendo’s new game called Pokemon GO has been phenomenally successful, but it has created something of a public safety nightmare. In the game, players can capture digital creatures at real locations using their smartphones. There are digital items that can be used in the game which can be found at “PokeStops,” which are located at real landmarks.
Although the game was launched only weeks ago, there have been a number of accidents involving players in the game. In California, two men who were playing Pokemon GO had to be rescued after falling off a 90-foot ocean bluff. In New York, a man who was driving was distracted by Pokemon Go and drove off the road, crashing into a tree. He suffered only a broken ankle and cuts. In Texas, a driver hit an illegally parked car because he had to catch a Pokemon.
Pedestrians have also been suffering injuries as a result of the game. A 15 year old in Pennsylvania was hit by a car while crossing a busy street while playing Pokemon GO. A man fell into a ditch and broke his foot while chasing a Pokemon character. Experts say that it is only a matter of time until someone is killed because of the game, if it hasn’t happened already.
In addition to the automobile and pedestrian accidents, there have also been instances where the game was used to entice robbery victims. In Missouri, four teens robbed victims after luring them to a specific location using Pokemon GO. The teens put a beacon in the game at a particular location to draw in players. Once the players showed up, they were robbed at gunpoint by the teens.
There is also a fear that some people may choose to trespass on private property in an attempt to catch Pokemon characters. Those players could be considered home invaders and could be hurt or even killed by homeowners.
Many experts believe that the game does not go far enough to protect the safety of its users. Although a notice from Pokemon GO pops up every time the game is opened, warning players to be aware of their surroundings, that warning clearly is not taken seriously by many of the game’s players. Players must also agree that they cannot enter private property without permission, and that the game’s developer is not liable for any property damage, injuries, or deaths that occur while the game is being played.
Pokemon GO has quickly overtaken Pandora, Netflix, Twitter, Spotify, and Google Hangouts for daily use in the U.S. It is close to having more users than Snapchat and WhatsApp.
In the age of smartphones, it’s clear that distracted driving is more of an issue than ever before. Not only are drivers talking on the phone, texting, and emailing while driving, they are now using the roads and their phones to chase digital characters at the expense of other drivers. If you have been harmed in an accident by a distracted driver, you have legal options. You can seek compensation from that driver for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty and Seth I. Rosenberg believe that anyone who is injured because of the actions of a driver who is distracted should speak with an attorney. Call the San Francisco automobile accident attorneys at Liberty Law at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000 to learn more about your legal rights. We work with clients throughout the Bay area, including Oakland, Tracy, Hayward, Fairfield, San Jose, Berkeley, Sacramento, and the surrounding areas. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.