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Legal Dangers of Pokémon Go

August 8, 2016

If you’re one of the many who have quickly become wrapped up in the new mobile app Pokémon Go and are on the quest to catch ‘em all, it is important to consider both the physical and legal dangers that can arise when playing this very popular game.

As the old adage goes, ‘it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.’ Play close attention to your surroundings so you don’t find yourself subject to one of the physical (and legal) dangers of Pokémon Go. White House spokesperson, Josh Earnest, urged people to ‘not suspend common sense while playing the game.

Pokémon Go, for those who are unfamiliar, is an augmented reality game. Players participate by walking around town with the app open on their mobile device, swiping at the pocket monsters when they pop up on one’s phone screen, and engaging in various battles at virtual ‘gyms’ as well as obtaining necessary items for play at Pokestops that are spread out at various landmarks and other locations throughout the city. The object of the game is to get moving and engage with others while also collecting Pokémon. Though the premise may be simple, individuals have suffered physical injury and even death as a result of not being careful and alert to their surroundings.

Two men fell 50 to 90 feet down a cliff in Encitas, California while playing the game. The game also has been reported to cause frequent traffic accidents due to distracted drivers and careless pedestrians. Trespassing led to death for a 15-year-old boy who was shot in North Carolina after a homeowner mistakenly identified the teen as a burglar. The boy had trespassed in search of a rare Pokémon.

            The takeaway from this post is that above all, please be careful if you chose to play Pokémon Go. Do not trespass, remain alert and aware of your surroundings, and do not engage in distracted driving.  Please contact HoganWillig with any questions about the above material, and if you wish to speak to an attorney, at 716-636-7600. HoganWillig is located at 2410 North Forest Road in Amherst, New York 14068, with additional offices in Buffalo, Lancaster, Ellicottville, and Lockport.