Pokémon Go – Who is to blame if I’m injured whilst playing?

There are lots of reports appearing in the media about Pokémon Go and accidents such as car accidents and trips and falls caused by people playing this augmented-reality game.

Whilst it is great to hear of a computer game that is bringing people out of their houses and encouraging parents and children to participate in an activity together, the ability of the game to distract players so easily does raise the question of who is to blame for these car accidents or trips and falls? And are these tales really any different to pedestrians being hurt because they are texting whilst walking or drivers being distracted because they are texting or checking social media whilst driving - read our previous blog for statistics on the impact that the use of mobile phones can have on reaction times?

In a claim for compensation, the question of fault or negligence is crucial. If a driver of a vehicle is distracted by checking their phone for Pokémon in the area and strikes a pedestrian or collides with another vehicle, they are likely to be found to blame. Equally, if a pedestrian is looking at their phone and crosses the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle, they could be found to be blame or at least partly to blame for the accident, as everyone has an obligation to take care for their own safety.

In the case of trips and falls, there is clearly a higher risk of someone slipping or tripping if they are not paying attention to their surroundings.  Whilst pavements, roads, and premises should be properly maintained, it is not possible to keep them in a perfect condition at all times.  The duty on the council, employer or other person responsible is usually one of reasonableness.  There is also a corresponding obligation on persons using the pavements, roads and the like to take care for their own safety and watch where they are placing their feet.  In most slipping and tripping cases, the court will already make a deduction to allow for this. If the court held that the injured person was playing Pokémon at the time they tripped or slipped, it is possible that they may make a higher deduction to allow for that lack of attention.

Pokémon Go won’t change the normal rules of negligence that apply in a personal injury claim but it may well have an impact if the player has been sufficiently distracted by trying to catch a Pokémon and not paying enough attention to their surroundings. So, stay safe, Pokémon hunters and don’t let the game distract you from any potential hazards!

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, contact Caroline Kelly on 01382 346282 or ckelly@thorntons-law.co.uk.  Alternatively, contact the Personal Injury team on 01382 229111 who will be pleased to assist further.

Categories: Personal Injury

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