You may have noticed kids, teens or adults walking along glued to their smartphone, oblivious to their surroundings. The chances are that they are playing the recently released ‘Pokémon Go’ game.
Does this affect me?
If as a Pokémon chaser you stray onto someone else’s property (without permission) then you could potentially open yourself up to be prosecuted for Trespassing or criminal damage if you cause an unjustified interference or damage to property which is in the exclusive and immediate possession of someone else.
If a Pokémon tracker is injured for example by a nail whilst climbing over your garden fence they could potentially have a legal claim against you as the occupier/owner of the property as you have a legal duty to them in respect of any risk of injury caused by your property.
So as a Property Owner and Regular Pokemon Go Player how can I protect myself?
As a property owner:
- Check that your property’s insurance policy covers occupiers’ liability;
- Assess your property’s risk profile (and make a record) for features/fixtures/fittings that may pose a danger to site visitors;
- Maintain or improve security (fencing, locks or signage) particularly where there are identifiable hazards;
- Use signs to stress the land is private – ‘keep out’, ‘no trespassing’, ‘beware of dog’ and ‘no responsibility will be accepted for any loss, damage or injury’.
As a player:
- Be aware that damage to land can be caused just by walking on it and can lead to civil and criminal claims/charges;
- Stay within public areas and rights of way as marked on maps/sign posts;
- Obtain permission to enter private land; and
- Leave gates, doors and property as you find them.