Pokémon Go has swept the country and the world in the past month, with millions of users downloading the app. The game has gotten particular attention because it’s the first widely successful use of a technology known as augmented reality. This allows users to be inside a game while viewing the real outside world. Though visually interesting, some have raised questions about whether the app might be to blame for causing injuries to users. Given recent reports of harm to players, legal experts say it’s all but inevitable that personal injury claims will result. To learn more about such potential claims, keep reading.
First, there have been reports in recent weeks of a multitude of injuries occurring to players of Pokémon Go. News reports indicate that serious accidents occurred in California, New York and Pennsylvania to name a few. People have been injured walking into traffic, walking off cliffs and entering buildings or places they shouldn’t have been in. These injuries are precisely what could cause users to sue Niantic Inc., the developer and publisher of Pokémon Go.
So what has Niantic done to reduce its potential liability? For starters, anyone who has ever played the game knows that it begins with a big warning screen. Users must click “OK” before they are even allowed to play the game. The opening screen warns players to be alert and aware of their surroundings at all times. Niantic has since begun periodically pushing pop-up messages with similar warnings. These kinds of warning messages are important when a company is afraid of lawsuits related to injuries that were reasonably foreseeable. In this case, it’s arguably reasonably foreseeable that a person could get hurt playing an augmented reality game that requires them to stare at their phone while walking around outside.