Pokmon GO Tied to Injuries, Robberies
Pokémon GO Tied to Injuries, Robberies
Parker Waichman is investigating potential lawsuits on behalf of individuals who suffered injuries or loss related to the new Pokémon Go game. Reports of mounting game-related, sometimes serious, injuries and theft have been reported.
If you or someone you know suffered injuries related to Pokémon GO, contact Parker Waichman today.
What is Pokémon GO?
The growing global gaming phenomenon, Pokémon GO, is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality mobile game. The game was developed by Niantic, published by The Pokémon Company, and released in July 2016 for iOS and Android devices. Pokémon GO has been downloaded by millions of people since its app went live on July 6, 2016. As of July 17, 2016, Pokémon GO is the most downloaded mobile game in United States history.
Pokémon GO, which is played on smartphones, encourages players to travel to points on a map via GPS. The point of the game is to capture what are described as "randomly spawning" Pokémon creatures and to collect needed items for the game. The characters are projected on the smartphone screen surrounded by the player's real life environment.
Pokémon GO is being credited with encouraging children, teens, and adults to exercise by having to walk to play. And, the game does brings friends, even communities together and is responsible for a number of spontaneous mass gathering and interesting discoveries as players are urged to explore obscure regions of their neighborhoods. But, real dangers exist, including dangerous and unsafe terrain and trespassing. And, although the Pokémon GO scavenger game is meant to be played on foot, pairs of players have been traveling by car to reach further destinations.
Pokémon GO Disclaimer Said to Be Confusing
While Pokémon GO injuries are making daily news, BlastingNews.com writes that Niantic Labs provides a long disclaimer replete with legal jargon on its website and which also appears on the screen before the game may be played.
In small part, the disclaimer states, "During game play, please be aware of your surroundings and play safely. You agree that your use of the App and play of the game is at your own risk, and it is your responsibility to maintain such health, liability, hazard, personal injury, medical, life, and other insurance policies as you deem reasonably necessary for any injuries that you may incur while using the Services." According to BlastingNews.com, the disclaimer continues, covering myriad scenarios; however, the news outlet notes, "What about the person who is injured because someone else was in the thralls of this game and bumps or crashes into them (sic)?"
Pokémon GO Injuries
Fox News Live wrote that Pokémon GO injuries present a "slippery slope" given the rising number of alleged wounds to players and non-players and noted that the Pokémon GO creators must surely be aware of these injuries, as well as injuries to non-players. Two such examples include a pedestrian being hit by a car driven by someone actively playing the game and an individual who was tripped on a sidewalk by an active player.
In another case, according to USA Today, a player allegedly found a body while playing Pokémon GO in Wyoming. And, in another recent case, CBS DFW reported that a Texas teenager was bitten by a poisonous snake searching for a so-called "Pokestop."
Following are other examples of recent events involving Pokémon GO:
Girl Hit by Car Playing Pokémon GO
Local ABC News reported that the mother of the 15-year-old Pennsylvania girl who was hit by a car while playing Pokemon Go is blaming the game for bringing on the events that led her daughter to cross a busy highway during the evening rush hour. The person who hit the teen stayed with her until paramedics arrived and transported her to a local hospital. As of the report, she remains in the hospital in stable condition.
Two Men Fall From Cliff Playing Pokémon GO
The California ocean cliffs are just one of the millions of destinations for the Pokémon GO app. According to local news reports, two men wandered off the cliffs at a beach community near San Diego, California. One fell 80-feet to the beach below; the other fell from a 50-foot cliff. Due to their Pokémon GO distractions, both were unaware of their surroundings and that they did not have remaining ground. They were both transported to a local trauma center.
The men fell after climbing a fence and ignoring warning signs to get on the bluff in Encinitas, California, said Fire Marshal Anita Pupping, USA Today wrote. She noted that the man who fell 80-90 feet landed on the beach at 1:00 p.m. "The fire department had to extricate them with ropes and harnesses and such," Pupping explained.
One of the men told sheriffs' deputies that he and his friend were playing Pokémon GO when they fell off the cliff, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. Pupping said she could not confirm the report; the names of the victims have not been released. According to USA Today, the men suffered moderate injuries and were taken to the Scripps La Jolla Trauma Center for treatment.
Florida Man Shoots at Teens in Car Playing Pokémon GO
A man in Florida has admitted to firing a handgun at two teen Pokémon GO players near his home, according to ScreenRant.com. Flagler County, Florida Sheriff's Office spokesman, James Troiano, confirmed to ABC News that an unnamed local homeowner alleges to have been awakened about 1:30 a.m. on July 17, 2016 by the sounds of two teenagers who had parked on the street outside his house. They were playing Pokémon GO, reported ScreenRant.com.
The man admitted that he was in possession of a handgun and approaching the vehicle. Troiano says the unnamed man then fired "several shots" at the vehicle as it sped away. According to The Orlando Sentinel, the gunman alleges that he first confronted the car at gunpoint from the front of the vehicle and dodged as the teens drove away. He reported that, at first, he believed the teens may have robbed his home when he heard one ask, "Did you get anything?" According to the teens, they were attempting to capture two Pokémon -Marowak and Tauros-which were listed as being somewhere in that area.
There were no injuries and the gunman reported the incident himself. The two young men-one 19 and the other, 16 years of age, were not identified until one of their mothers contacted the police after finding bullet holes on the car and that the car had a flat fire the next morning.
Physicians Issue Warning Concerning Pokémon GO Injuries
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has issued a warning in July 2016 for individuals who are playing Pokémon GO: Be aware of your surroundings and walk carefully to avoid serious injury, according to CBS News.
"We love that these games are bringing children and adults outdoors and encouraging exercise," Dr. Alan S. Hilibrand," an AAOS spokesperson who is also a Philadelphia-based orthopedic surgeon said. "But we also want everyone to be mindful of their surroundings as they enjoy this activity. Walking while looking at your phone or electronic device can result in sprains, broken bones, and other serious, even fatal, injuries." In the days since Pokémon GO was released, reports have surfaced of players suffering cuts, bruises, and sprains while chasing Pokemon creatures.
Meanwhile, this latest warning is part of the AAOS' "Digital Deadwalker" campaign that includes amusing radio and television ads meant to urge smartphone-obsessed pedestrians to watch where they are going and be more aware of their surroundings.
The AAOS notes that, according to its study, some four out of 10 people in the U.S. have seen a "distracted walking incident." The Academy also discovered that 25 percent of Americans have been involved these types of incidents and 78 percent of adults believe these to be a "serious issue." The study also found that, although 76 percent of Americans believe that "other people" walk while distracted, just 29 percent admitted to doing so themselves.
The academy is urging walkers and gamers to maintain focus on people, objects, and obstacles around them at all times, especially if chasing a Pokémon leads them near traffic. The AAOS also reminds players and walkers to look up, not down, when stepping onto curbs or when walking up stairs or escalators.
Pokémon GO Armed Robberies
As of its July 2016 report, BlastingNews.com wrote that nine individuals were the victims of armed robberies. Four alleged criminals used Pokémon GO to lure players to desolate areas where they robbed the players at gunpoint. Police have arrested that group.