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Pokemon Go is already turning some of its players into Pokemon stayers. That is, excited early adopters have already experienced injuries that will be keeping them stuck at home all summer, though the game is touted for its ability to draw reclusive types out of the house.
The augmented reality app game that's played in the real world and on phones has been out for less than a week in the U.S. Already injuries abound, reportedly. In fact, on the very first night it was out, the Washington Post reports, within just 30 minutes of the game's release, there were already people going to emergency rooms to treat injuries caused while trying to "catch 'em all!"
Watch Your Step
Pokemon Go does not seem inherently dangerous. It basically involves catching cartoon figures on your phone. But it's a game that is played out in public by highly distracted individuals, which means that accidents do happen and that there is cause for concern.
Enthusiastic players may be more involved with the game than their surroundings and are not paying attention to where they or others are going. Case in point. One player reported on Reddit, "Not even 30 minutes after the release last night, I slipped and fell down a ditch. Fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in my foot, 6-8 weeks for recovery. I told all the doctors I was walking my dog lol ... Watch where you're going, folks!"
Already police departments nationwide keep advising players to look up when they walk, to watch where they are going, and to avoid driving and playing. But that is easier said than done for those who want to participate in the cultural phenomenon.
Social network posts reveal that people cannot help themselves. They must drive and play. That means the game is something of a danger to all, even those who are not involved in the madness, and it is likely that that the words "Pokemon Go" will be uttered often in injury lawsuits to come.
Players are being widely urged by everyone, including the game manufacturer, to play safely. There is a warning screen on the game that reminds people to keep their eyes on the real world, however delightful augmented reality may be.
If you have been injured playing Pokemon Go or in any other context, talk to a lawyer. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case.