Trying to “catch’em all” is not a valid defense to trespass and the other risks of Pokemon Go!

By: Attorney Dina M. Swanson| Partner

It’s all the rage right now. You see people walking around staring at their smart phones or posting on social media their latest capture and wonder to yourself. . . what are they doing? It seems everyone is joining in on the newest craze, Pokemon Go, a free to play reality mobile game which was released in July of 2016 for IOS and android devices. Pokemon Go allows players to capture, battle, and train Pokemon, which are virtual creatures who appear on your mobile device screen as though it is in the real world. Players use the GPS and cameras on their phone to create an avatar who moves along the players game map while the player walks in the real world. The camera allows the players mobile device to display an image of a Pokemon on their screen and snap a photo as if it was really there. That screen shot of the Pokemon is a capture.

Although the game seems harmless and encourages one to get outside and walk around, the thrill of capture has led to some participants to forget something- THE LAW. I get it; you need to get that rare water Pokemon or the fire one and its right there, on your neighbor’s lawn or in that CHURCH! You can capture it so quickly! But no matter how rare or how bad you need to “catch’em all”, Pokemon Go does not authorize you to enter onto the property of another, especially at 1am! It is still a trespass, no matter how bad you need to add that little guy to your collection.

There are other obvious dangers associated with individuals walking and driving while searching for the rarest of the rare because their eyes are not on the road but instead on their mobile devices. There have been a number of accidents throughout the U.S. involving Pokemon Go players both pedestrians and drivers. In New York, a driver crashed into a tree while playing Pokemon Go. Two men who were playing the game had to be rescued after falling off a 90 foot ocean bluff in California seeking to capture their next creature.

But perhaps the most alarming is the use of the game to attract victims in order commit robberies. Police have reported incidents of robbers using the game to anticipate the location of unsuspecting victims or luring players to certain locations. Since the game allows players to drop a “lure” in the real world for 30 minutes, robbers can lure gamers to a specific location and strike innocent victims, merely trying to complete their collection.

Although the game has many positives, including encouraging players to get outside and get active, the law against trespass and the improper use of mobile devices while operating your motor vehicle or crossing the street, must be heeded and players must consider the dangers of the game. Therefore, when heading out for your next capture, be aware of your surroundings and keep your head up, because if not, you may “catch” more than your next Pokemon!

If you have been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, the attorneys at Wynn & Wynn, P.C. can help review your case and determine if you have a potential claim. Call our office today at 1-800-852-5211, or request your free consultation.

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Hyannis, MA 02601
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