When Pokemon GO was first released in early July 2016, it quickly became a smash hit, with millions scrambling to “catch” characters in the interactive game that required users to travel around their neighborhoods and communities. Apparently, some didn’t let the fact that they were behind the wheel stop them. Researchers at Indiana’s Purdue University have released a 49-page study that estimates this game alone caused 145,000 car accidents, 29,000 injuries and 250 deaths just in the first five months after it was released.
But while the augmented reality Pokemon Go craze has since died down significantly, what hasn’t is the fact that smartphones and apps continue to divide drivers’ attention in a way that endangers all of us on the roads. Our Indiana car accident attorneys know that this raises some interesting legal questions about what duty of care – if any – technology companies have to motorists.
Case law on the matter has not been hopeful for plaintiffs. In August, a superior court judge in California dismissed a lawsuit filed by the parents of a young man killed when he was struck by a driver who was texting. The distracted driver was charged with a misdemeanor, but the parents took legal action against the technology giant, alleging Apple failed to implement a lockout system on the iPhone. In the order for dismissal, the judge cited another lawsuit in that state with a similar fact pattern, wherein the appellate court ruled it would be “unreasonable” to assume the tech firm was responsible for the ultimate harm. Continue reading