09.30.2016

Careful, Pokemon Go May Be Dangerous!

For 110 years, Powell Law has represented Pennsylvanians who have suffered injuries from just about every act or omission, from factual situation or circumstance. But we have never faced the possibility of representing someone who is injured because of a video game or its nature. Until now that is. As you may have guessed, the game is Pokemon Go, a free smartphone app which has been downloaded 15 million times since its release.

The game is characterized as an augmented reality game which uses a mobile device’s GPSCareful, Pokemon Go May Be Dangerous! capability to help the player locate, train, battle, and capture Pokemon, the game’s virtual creatures, who appear on the screen as if it were the identical real-world locale of the player. While Pokemon Go has succeeded in getting players out into the fresh air of the real world (even if as a result of participation in a fantasy world), it has caused a public nuisance. Many law enforcement agencies across the country have produced public service announcements warning of the potential dangers that may result from playing Pokemon Go.

Because the Pokemon are randomly generated at any place and time, their sudden appearance distracts players and  displacing them  from their present circumstances and surroundings. In July, a Pittsburgh teenager was hit by a car while playing Pokemon Go. She denied that she was looking at her phone playing the game while crossing the street but her mother and most parents think otherwise.

Probably the best advice is to not play while driving or on foot near roadways. Do not play while crossing the street, even in a crosswalk. Always play in well-populated areas and avoid playing at night. Play with friends and utilize a buddy systemso you can safely watch out for each other while playing the game and your attention is focused on the gamescreen rather than your surroundings. Pokemon Go may be the most distracting application to ever reside on a mobile phone. This in itself is quite an achievement!

Powell Law offers experienced and knowledgeable legal assistance to anyone injured as a result of the negligence of another, even if such negligence arises from an individual playing a video game or walking or driving distracted. If you live in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, and have suffered injuries due to an accident, product defect, or incident of medical malpractice, contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE.

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