RISK INSIGHT: Pokémon Go – Injury & Liability Exposures

Learning to Play with Pokémon Go  – Protect your Organization from Liability Exposures

A few weeks ago, no one considered the potential injury and liability exposures associated with Pokémon Go. The overwhelming participation in this new game creates the need to evaluate the potential risk management concerns for businesses and organizations.

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality (AR) game that allows users to capture pocket monsters known as Pokémon. This app uses your phone’s GPS capabilities to locate and capture Pokémon; your phone camera then can be used to take a picture of the Pokémon in the real world setting.

Pokémon have been found in parks, near churches and monuments, even at the White House – they are probably somewhere near you right now. The Pokémon rage has led people – children and adults alike – to carelessly walk through public (and private) properties, cross busy streets, and drive while distracted. Nationwide, numerous accidents and injuries have occurred, with some injuries being serious.

Your organization may want to consider the following risk management controls to address the Pokémon craze:

  • Verify Property is Adequately Secured – this may include signage and/or fences to deter trespassing. If your organization is a school, church, or public entity, the property may be inherently more open to the public. Focus on mitigating potential dangers.
  • Safety Concerns – Inspect your property, looking for any potential unsafe conditions on the premises that could lead to an accident or injury of a person who is inattentively walking or riding a bike while searching for a Pokémon. Focus on areas where vehicular traffic may be present.
  • Review/Update Driver Safety Programs – Ensure employees understand your policies around the use of mobile phones, navigation systems, gaming/music apps, and other distractions while driving.
  • Roof Access – Walk around your building to ensure no one can access the roof by climbing on equipment attached to the building, down spouts, dumpsters, trees, etc.
  • Construction Projects – Ensure areas under construction or repair are properly secured and barricaded to prevent someone from wandering into an unsafe area.
  • Security Concerns – Say an employee observes someone taking pictures of your property with their phone. Are they performing surveillance or are they capturing a Pokémon? Do you want staff to report these incidents?
  • Recreational Limitation of Liability – Review the Wisconsin State Statute 895.52  (and, if applicable, the school grounds specific 895.523) with legal counsel to determine the applicability of liability limitation if someone were to be injured on your property while performing a Pokémon search.

Contact your M3 Account Executive if you’d like to discuss the liability exposures covered in this article in greater detail.

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Source: This information in this post was derived from a similar school-specific article written by Kevin Miller.

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