When your kids visit a playground, whether at a local park or during recess at school, you expect someone to properly supervised them, that the park equipment will function as the children expect, and that the property will be free of any hazards. Accidents happen every day, and an ice pack and TLC will solve many of the resulting pains. However, some are very serious and may involve faulty equipment, inadequate supervision, and other types of negligence.
The law holds parties such as schools, teachers, and other local organizations who are responsible for the care of children to strict liability standards. An attorney can help you investigate the likelihood of succeeding with a personal injury claim following a playground accident. These incidents may overlap with other areas of law, such as premises liability, products liability, and even wrongful death. Because of this, it is essential that you find an attorney with experience in all these areas should you need legal counsel.
You can find out more about the applicable laws and who may be held liable for a playground accident by contacting Fielding Law. Our compassionate attorneys understand that these cases are extremely nuanced, requiring a careful review of the individuals involved, all evidence presented, the maintenance of the grounds, whether children and adults followed the playground’s rules, and other details pertinent to your case.
Though we all hope and expect that playgrounds are safe places for children to play, accidents do happen. Understand the factors involved in these incidents and when you need to contact an attorney for information about your legal rights.
Playground accidents are common, with over 200,000 children visiting emergency rooms across America annually for injuries that happened there. However, they also tend to be very serious, with approximately half leading to fractures and dislocations, internal bleeding and similar damages, concussions, and even amputations. If such an injury is the result of a school administration’s negligence or an unsafely managed park, you may have legal options at your disposal. A personal injury lawyer at Fielding Law will help answer your questions.
Because playgrounds involve children climbing on equipment and running at full speed, accidents (even serious ones) do happen. Some incidents are more than “kids being kids,” and are the result of negligence on the part of an adult supervisor, whoever is in charge of park management, or a product manufacturer in certain cases. Here are some examples of injuries that may warrant legal attention:
Playgrounds are supposed to be safe places for children to play and burn off excess energy. Unfortunately, many contain dangerous materials or conditions that increase the risk of injury. Playground accidents can happen for many reasons. For example, children may act carelessly and without concern for their safety. They are, after all, children. Unfortunately, not all accident causes are so innocuous. Let’s take a closer look at why accidents usually happen on the playground.
When exploring why accidents usually happen on playgrounds, you must consider that strong supervision is consistently listed as a key factor in their occurrence. What does that mean? A good rule of thumb is that an adult should be able to see a child at any point on a playground. In group settings, there should be enough adults to watch all children present.
This may also include allowing children to use equipment designed for other age ranges. For example, a toddler playing on a climbing structure intended for older children is more likely to experience a fall than if he was on a playground for little children. Steering children to equipment appropriate for their age and ability is an essential role of playground supervisors.
Another common cause of accidents that happen on the playground is faulty equipment. This can take many shapes, including:
As we mentioned earlier, kids can behave carelessly on playgrounds. Coupled with large groups and the previously highlighted unsafe conditions, their release of pent-up energy can lead to accidents and injuries. That is why inspections, maintenance, and supervision of playground areas are critical to preventing accidents.
Attorneys experienced in playground accidents, personal injury, and liability cases can help uncover details that might otherwise remain unseen to shed light on the responsible party, and there will undoubtedly be questions about liability when someone is hurt on a playground. They might include:
The truth is that the responsible party in a playground accident may not always be obvious. Instead of blindly pointing fingers, our attorneys will work with you to uncover any facts that help clarify liability in your playground accident.
According to the National Safety Council, almost 80% of injuries on public playgrounds result from falls. This type of injury can be prevented with proper supervision, removal of protrusions and sharp edges, equipment inspections, and an appropriate impact-absorbing substrate around equipment. Unfortunately, that combination of factors can make it challenging to ascertain responsibility from the following parties.
Public playgrounds are generally maintained by a facility or maintenance crew. They are responsible for ensuring everything is in safe operational condition, and the surrounding area is free from hazards. These staff should also monitor the depth or condition of ground materials to ensure they can absorb an impact.
If your child is injured at a supervised playground, an adult should be on hand to perform those duties. They are responsible for monitoring behavior and correcting it as necessary. That includes stopping anything that could be dangerous.
Despite strict rules and quality checks in manufacturing, a defective piece of playground equipment can slip through the system. If someone is injured on defective playground equipment, the manufacturer could bear some responsibility for the accident.
From schoolyards to city parks, kids all over the state of Utah enjoy time spent on playgrounds. While much is done to ensure that these times are fun and free of danger for kids, the truth is that injury cannot always be prevented. According to the Utah Department of Health, the state has set goals to improve the safety of kids at school and on the playground. The organization states that playground injuries are more common in elementary and middle schools but start to decrease once kids enter high school.
In most cases, property owners and school districts are legally required to protect children from play areas with dangerous conditions. When an accident happens and an injury occurs, there may be a case for a premises liability lawsuit.
To prove a premises liability lawsuit after a playground accident, there are some requirements that must be met. These can include the following:
In the case of a school district, the district manages the property that the school’s playground is on. Because students are expected to play on the equipment at recess, it is reasonable to assume that any problems with the equipment could lead to an injury. If the party in charge of maintenance and care for the playground did not keep up on the tasks and a child is injured, the school district may be found liable for the injury.
According to the Utah Parent Teacher Association, there are no state or federal standards in Utah to manage the installation of playground surfaces or equipment. According to the organization, close to 60% of playground injuries each year are caused by falls. With some simple changes to maintenance and supervision, some injuries may be prevented.