Playing Pokémon Go

Andrea Pleimling Smith

Andrea P. Smith

If you have been to Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers recently, you may have noticed a significant increase in the number of people congregating in the park. You may also have noticed that the majority of these people seem to be transfixed by their smart phones. This is part of the Pokémon Go phenomenon that has swept the country and inspired many people to get outside in search of these elusive Pokémon.

For those unfamiliar, Pokémon Go is a game created to engage users with its augmented reality concept – in short, people go hunting about actual places to “catch” virtual Pokémon.

Pokémon Go Risks

While this phenomenon seems to be all fun and games, it is not without risk. Game users need to be aware of their surroundings. It is all too easy to get distracted while in the throes of the game and wander into unauthorized areas, private property or other types of hazards. Trip and falls associated with playing the game have been reported, as have injuries due to hazards on property where users are playing the game.

There is also a security component associated with the game due to the fact that the game utilizes geolocation to direct users to specific geographic locations. Users must take care not to put themselves at risk due to the fact that criminals have also become wise to the opportunities presented by Pokémon Go, which may draw more targets for potential crime.

Non-Users and Pokémon Go

Non-users also need to take care to avoid distracted game players. For example, there have been reports of distracted game players trying to catch Pokémon while driving thereby causing motor vehicle collisions.

It is notable that the makers of the game include a waiver of liability prior to downloading the app. However, users can revoke the waiver within 30 days of accepting the terms of the service agreement. However, the revocation has to be done in writing.

There is potential liability for third parties if there are hazards that cause injury to game users. For example sidewalks, steps or other property components that are poorly maintained or constructed in a dangerous manner can result in liability on the part of the property owner. There is also potential liability for negligent security in the event that users of the game are victims of a crime due to inadequate security.

If you are a Pokémon Go user, always be aware of your surroundings and keep a lookout for any hazards. If you or a loved one is injured, please call the attorneys at Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, P.A., as soon as possible after the incident. The attorney’s at Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, P.A., will be happy to assist you in handling all aspects of your case. We have six offices to serve you.  Our locations are in Fort Myers (2 offices to serve you), Cape Coral, Naples, Lehigh Acres, and Port Charlotte for your convenience.  Call us today to set up your appointment for a free consultation. #JusticeStartsNow

Written by Andrea P. Smith, Attorney