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Safety Alert: Pokémon Go

pokemon-go-accidents-injuries.jpgMy social media has been blowing up lately all about this new game you can play on your phone called "Pokemon Go". According to the official website, the app allows you (the user) to "Travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon with Pokémon GO for iPhone and Android devices. With Pokémon GO, you'll discover Pokémon in a whole new world-your own! Pokémon GO is built on Niantic's Real World Gaming Platform and will use real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon. Pokémon GO allows you to find and catch more than a hundred species of Pokémon as you explore your surroundings....Get on your feet and step outside to find and catch wild Pokémon. Explore cities and towns around where you live and even around the globe to capture as many Pokémon as you can. As you move around, your smartphone will vibrate to let you know you're near a Pokémon. Once you've encountered a Pokémon, take aim on your smartphone's touch screen and throw a Poké Ball to catch it. Be careful when you try to catch it, or it might run away"

The game was created by Niantic Inc., a San Francisco spinoff of Google parent Alphabet Inc. that previously became known for a similar augmented-reality game called "Ingress."

So, you start the game and then start "moving" to prominent local landmarks - represented in the game as "PokeStops" - where you can get supplies such as Pokeballs. Those are what you fling at online "pocket monsters," or Pokemon, to capture them for training. At other locations called "gyms" - which may or may not be actual gyms in the real world - Pokemon battle one another for supremacy.

As expected, the game has also induced people to post pictures of themselves on social media chasing creatures in all sorts of dangerous situations.

Sounds fun, right? Well, it is causing accidents, home invasions, etc. As a plaintiff's lawyer, I can see several scenarios that can play out where people are getting hurt as they stare at their phones while hunting for Pokemon. According to news agencies, a 28-year-old man was distracted while playing the GPS based game 'Pokemon Go' on his phone. He drove his car off the road and crashed into a tree, police said. Luckily the man wasn't seriously injured, but the front end of his car was totaled.

Another 21-year-old male from Long Island, New York, took a spill on his skateboard as he stared at his phone while cruising for critters early Thursday. He cut his hand on the sidewalk after hitting a big crack, and blames himself for going too slowly.

A Wyoming woman found a dead body floating in a river while playing the new "Pokemon Go" game on her smartphone. "

"It's also a good idea to look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street."

Four people in a black BMW with a handgun were arrested early Sunday morning following an armed robbery report. The suspects, police said in a statement, used the app to lure the victims.

Ankle injuries, mishaps with revolving doors and walking into trees have been among the painful results.

A 22-year-old freelance web designer, fell on the sidewalk and twisted her ankle while wandering in downtown Waterville, Maine, one night trying to catch Pokemon. "It vibrated to let me know there was something nearby and I looked up and just fell in a hole," she says. Her parents had to drive her and her fiancé home.

Police offered the following advice to Pokemon Go players:

• Don't play the game while driving a car or bicycle.

• Don't trespass on private property just to "catch" a Pokemon.

• Avoid staring down at your phone and be aware of hazards like roadways, drop-offs and waterways.

• Be cautious of who you share your location with.

• Don't travel alone.

At least the game has one failsafe - you can't hatch digital eggs while driving. That requires slower in-person movement in the real world. "It doesn't count as walking if you're going more than 20 miles per hour, so that's good, I guess," Plunkett says.

Regardless, I caution people to play this game. It sounds fun but it is full of personal injury claims.

Source: 'Pokemon Go' Can Lead to Real-Life Pains | NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Players-in-Hunt-for-Pokemon-Go-Monsters-Feel-Real-World-Pain--386214111.html#ixzz4EPSuSSDz

http://www.foxla.com/news/share-this/173813464-story

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Our legal team consists of attorney Wm. Dennis Brannon and his son C. Paul Brannon. We work together as a father and son team to provide our clients with exceptional service and solutions in motor vehicle accident claims and other personal injury matters.

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