VR Immersion, a personal injury ticking time bomb?

This article was published on: 08/9/16

Virtual reality is well and truly here. Once a futuristic and unattainable goal, both video gaming giants Microsoft and Sony have their own versions of VR ready for release, with other third party headsets on the way. Is VR the next step in immersive gaming? or does the headset provide potential new problems for personal injury worries?

Technological advancement

VR is not just confined to video games despite the well documented releases of gaming headsets. VR has made positive steps towards benefiting us in a myriad of other industries including:

  • Healthcare
  • Military
  • Architecture
  • Art
  • Education
  • Business
  • Sport

From surgery simulations for training purposes or historical re-enactments for education, VR has begun to help in more ways than purely a form of entertainment. Given it is still in its infancy and strides are being constantly made to improve its use to us, virtual reality holds a lot of potential for the future. It is, however, in that form as an entertainment device where VR is potentially a cause of harm for users as a less controlled environment of a living room could see that immersion spill into an injury prone situation.

VR injuries

In a restricted environment of a living room or gaming room, a VR headset could open up the possibility of immersed users forgetting about their surroundings and present possible injuries.

While the most common injuries may include cuts and bruises on hands, arms and legs as a result of swinging or flailing them while playing, there are also potential legal issues should the person who gets hurt do so in either a public environment or premises owned by somebody other than themselves.

Some VR games use peripherals similar to the Wiimotes, which caused havoc when first released including breaking household items like windows, TVs and lights or causing harm to others in the room (see video below).

VR also uses wires for power, which when placed on the floor present a tripping hazard if not laid properly. The deprivation of vision in a user’s immediate environment can be very risky if that environment is not large enough to handle the amount of movement the player will need to make.

Occupier’s liability

If you decide to purchase any of the variants of virtual reality headsets on sale this year for use in your house, ensure it is in a large room able to accommodate movement, with as few items around as possible to avoid knocking into tables, seats or ornaments. Should damage come to any guests as a result of loose wires on the floor or walking into furniture, it could spell a problem for the homeowner as they could be liable under occupier’s liability.

As with any injury sustained in another person’s property, the provision of a safe environment is the owner’s responsibility and the failure to do so, or knowing that an accident could happen and not attempting to safeguard can lead to legal problems.

If you, your family or a friend has sustained an injury (VR related or not) at somebody else’s house or any privately owned property (including business premises) then Scott Rees & Co could assist you. We have helped hundreds of clients claim against private property owners, business property owners and even public land owners like councils for failing to prevent injuries on their premises.

If you would like to talk to one of our experienced members of staff for free, impartial advice, you can contact us weekdays from 9am to 7pm on 0800 278 4530 or you can begin a claim right away by filling in our claim form here.

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