The long-awaited Pokémon Go smartphone app released last week and has already surpassed other popular apps in usage rate. CNET reports the use of Pokémon Go is at an average rate of 33 minutes per day, compared to Facebook at 22 minutes, Snapchat at 18, and Twitter at 17.
The popular game uses augmented reality to allow players to hunt, capture, and battle virtual animals. The game uses real-world landmarks like art installations, attractions, and even churches as battle arenas and item dispensing points. The virtual animals can appear anywhere, a feature that is leading some authorities to question the safety of the app.
Pokémon Go Leading Players into Danger
Reports are already coming in of players involved in car accidents and muggings while hunting in the game. Because players become immersed in searching and capturing the virtual creatures, they often forget to pay attention to their surroundings.
Police departments and safety agencies across the country are issuing safety warnings to players, asking that they refrain from playing the game while driving and be aware of where they are walking. Even the American Bar Association weighed in on the legal complications of injuries arising from the game.
Liability for Injuries Playing Pokémon Go
When players use the Pokémon Go app, they agree to the Terms of Service. In these terms are clauses for arbitration and assumption of personal risk. By agreeing to the Terms of Service, users agree that:
"Niantic, The Pokémon Company (“TPC”), and TPCI disclaim all liability related to any property damage, personal injury, or death that may occur during your use of our Services, including any claims based on the violation of any applicable law, rule, or regulation or your alleged negligence or other tort liability."
Talk to Max Meyers about your options (e.g., suing the manufacturer or driver) for recovering compensation after being involved in an accident with a negligent Pokémon Go user.
Even if it turns out that you are unable to sue the companies involved with the creation of Pokémon Go, you may still be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Because using a phone while driving is against Washington State law, you can use the driver’s game playing as proof of negligence.
Play Safe, and Know When to Contact a Lawyer
Pokémon Go is a fun way to get out of the house, but it does not come without its dangers. The best ways to prevent injury when playing Pokémon Go are to:
- Play only on foot while walking on sidewalks or in pedestrian-friendly areas such as parks.
- Bring a friend. Playing with friends can help everyone keep an eye out for one another and make the game even more fun.
- Never play with headphones in.
- Always look both ways, twice, before crossing the street. Do not play while crossing the street.
If you have questions about your right to recovery after an accident while playing Pokémon Go, a Washington state personal injury attorney can help. Contact Max Meyers Law PLLC to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your claim: 425-399-7000.