Pokémon Go is causing car accidents across the U.S. Somehow, that’s not a surprise.
If you aren’t familiar with Pokémon Go, it is a free-to-play mobile app/game that was developed by Niantic, Inc. in partnership with The Pokémon Company and Nintendo for iOS and Android phones, and released on July 6, 2016.
The game utilizes the camera and GPS of a compatible device to allow a player to capture, battle, and train fictional creatures called Pokémon. In under a month, over 20 million people across the country have downloaded the game and are out and about trying to “catch ‘em all” while walking, running, and, unfortunately, while driving.
More About Pokémon Go Accidents
While the app warns users to “Remember to be alert at all times” and “Stay aware of your surroundings” as they play, there has already been a multitude of instances where it has caused those walking or driving to be involved in car accidents.
In fact, a little over a week after the app was released, a 15-year-old Pennsylvania teen playing the game walked across a major highway at 5:00 PM and was hit by a car as she tried to make her way back home.
In New York, a driver playing the game drove off the road and crashed into a tree. The girl injured her collarbone and suffered other injuries, and the driver totaled his car but was lucky to get away with minor injuries.
When Should Pokémon Go Be Held Accountable?
With Pokémon Go causing accidents like this in just a few weeks after its release, it raises the question: Should Pokémon Go be held liable for the accidents or injuries it causes? Better yet, should it be held liable for accidents caused (1) by its users; or (2) to its users?
While the victims and their loved ones will undoubtedly say yes, it is difficult to tell whether the app’s creators will be liable for any injuries or accidents in the future. Niantic, Inc. actually does an “okay” job of presenting disclaimers and warnings in the “Pokémon Go Terms of Service,” so it is clear they have thought accidents might happen.
Recoverable Damages for Victims of Pokémon Go Car Accidents and Injuries
If you or someone you love was a victim of a Pokémon Go car accident, whether as a passenger in a vehicle, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or pedestrian, you may have the right to total reimbursement of your damages. Pokémon Go car accident victims are entitled to reimbursement for not only economic damages, which have a financial value, but non-economic damages as well.
These are more challenging to quantify as they are subjective and can impact each victim’s life differently. Examples of the compensatory damages injury victims may be entitled to recover in a Pokémon Go car accident include:
- Physical or permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wage-related losses, including income, celery, bonuses, retirement savings, health insurance, paid time off, potential future earnings, and more
- Emotional trauma and mental anguish
- Loss of an intimate spousal relationship, companionship, love, protection, advice, society, support, and guidance
- Loss of household services, including childcare expenses and household maintenance fees
- Costs of healthcare, including medical bills, future healthcare treatments, medical equipment and devices, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, out-of-pocket costs, counseling services, physical therapy or occupational therapy, and surgical interventions
- Damage to your vehicle, including the cost of a rental car, diminished car value, and the cost of purchasing a new vehicle
If the defendant has a history of negligent conduct or their actions are considered particularly malicious, intentional, or egregious, your family may also be awarded punitive damages. However, punitive damages are not awarded often, so you should not expect to recover them unless your attorney suggests otherwise.
How to Make Pokémon Go Pay for Its Negligence
Niantic, Inc., the corporation behind the Pokémon Go app may be held accountable in the event of a car crash. Although there are multiple warnings on the app that encourage users to be safe, there are multiple situations in which Pokémon Go and its creators could be held accountable. Your personal injury attorney will need to closely evaluate the specific circumstances of your case to determine whether the app creators and other parties share blame for your resulting injuries or the accident itself.
You can start by hiring a skilled personal injury lawyer to review the details of your case. Our team will review the evidence, consider the facts, and help you explore your opportunities for financial relief. Many Pokémon Go car accident victims wind up settling outside of court with the app creators, insurance companies, or liable parties. However, if it becomes necessary to do so, we will be prepared to pursue your Pokémon Go lawsuit at trial. This is often the case when the liable party does not have enough insurance coverage, is uninsured, or negotiations with Niantic, Inc. and Pokémon Go creators are unsuccessful.
Contact Our Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
There is no denying that just like texting and driving, Pokémon Go and driving are becoming a big issue. However, whether or not the company behind this innovative app can truly be held liable for the injuries or if there will be penalties for those who drive and play and cause serious car accidents has yet to be seen. Whatever the case, if you have to “catch ‘em all,” make sure that you do it carefully and safely, and “Remember to be alert at all times” and “Stay aware of your surroundings,” as the app suggests.
The attorneys at the law firm of Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC serve as personal injury attorneys in Bucks County, and defense lawyers in Bucks County and provide these legal services and others throughout Montgomery County and Philadelphia, PA. Whether an accident was caused by Pokémon Go or not, we encourage all victims and their loved ones to reach out to us via our convenient contact form or by phone for a free consultation.