Playgrounds are significant contributors to child injuries with over 200,000 emergency room visits ever year. Most injuries occur from falling to the ground or falling and hitting the same or a nearby piece of equipment. Since kids are creative in finding new uses for common playground equipment, one must determine whether their child’s behavior resulted in unintended use or if the equipment was improperly installed / maintained. To determine whether legal action is available it is best to contact an attorney. Parents can also learn more about various criteria used to determine the basis for a playground lawsuit.
Common Basis for Playground Legal Actions
The most common basis for lawsuits involving playground injuries are defective design or manufacturing (strict liability), and negligent operation and or maintenance. Improper assembly, defects and lack of maintenance can be identified by comparing the equipment responsible for injury with the guidelines established by the Consumer Products Safety Commission in the Playground Safety Handbook. The handbook outlines a set of acceptable playground design features which are supposed to reduce or eliminate the risk of falling. Playgrounds lacking such features may be deemed dangerous and improperly manufactured/installed – opening a window to legal action. If you believe your child was injured due to such missing / defective equipment that was meant to prevent falling, contact an attorney right away. Although it is true that some government bodies are immune to legal action when it comes to strict liability, negligent employees and or management can still be held liable for their actions or inactions.
Who can be Held Liable in Playground Injuries?
Bluntly put – just about anyone can be sued for injuries resulting from negligence, defective product or manufacturing. Private home playgrounds fall under the same rules and must adhere to the very same standards established by the CPSC’s playground handbook.
In some cases there is more than one defendant: the agency responsible for the defective playground and the person who was supervising the child. A private business where the supervisor failed to prevent a dangerous condition (such as allowing a child to play on a playground not intended for his/her age), can be just as responsible for the injury as the negligently maintained playground in a park.
Should I contact a lawyer?
Yes, you should always contact a lawyer before making a decision based on information you read online. Some injuries may seem crystal clear in terms of whom or what is responsible for the injury, but the actual issues may be far more difficult to argue than what meets the eye. Attorneys take special care to determine which issues should be argued on your behalf and how to support those issues. Most often, an injury attorney will send an expert to the playground to have it photographed and examined. Experts have significant voice in helping establish accurate conditions of the playground, and can play a critical role in supporting the underline issues pursued by your attorney. It’s always safer to speak to an attorney who normally doesn’t charge for a consultation, than to play a guessing game on your own.
Dan Applegate writes for injury attorneys Fisher & Talwar on injury topics pertaining to slip and fall accidents. Fisher & Talwar is a personal injury firm in downtown Los Angeles with proven results and extensive slip and fall litigation experience.
PLEASE NOTE: Nothing in this post shall be construed as an offering of legal advice. These posts are meant for informative and educational purposes only. Please call our office at 601-336-0305 to discuss any legal issues you may be facing.