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A Look At Liability In Three Playground-Related Injury Cases

Law Articles

Minor bumps and bruises are just a part of life, but sometimes children become seriously injured when playing on a jungle gym or playground. Falling or getting hit with playground equipment can result in broken bones, concussions, dislocated joints and other serious injuries. Who is at fault when your child suffers an injury on a playground? That depends on the circumstances. To help you gain a better understanding of liability in playground-related injury cases, here's a look at three possible scenarios, and who's likely to be held responsible in each one.

Scenario 1: Your child is playing on the playground in your apartment complex, when his foot sinks through a rotten piece of wood on a platform. You have to call 911 to get the child's leg free, and find out at the emergency room that your child needs 37 stitches.

In this case, the apartment complex that owns the playground is likely to be held liable for the damages. To win a personal injury case, your lawyer must establish that the defendant acted negligently, and that this negligence contributed directly to the injury. In this case, establishing negligence is pretty straight forward. The apartment complex was negligent in their maintenance of the playground. This resulted in your child's foot going through the rotten floor, which led to the injury.

There is one case in which the apartment complex may not be held liable for this injury, and that's if the playground was in some way roped off or posted as out of service. If you and your child knowingly disobeyed a sign and played on a damaged playground, you may still be able to win a personal injury case, but the chances are lower.

Scenario 2: Your child is playing on a jungle gym and gets her shoelace caught on a plastic handle that protrudes from the side of the platform. This causes the child to trip and break her nose.

Assuming the jungle gym has been maintained properly, then the owner of the playground probably won't be named liable in this situation. If your child was using the equipment as intended and its design contributed to the injury, then the company that designed and manufactured the playground may actually be held liable.

If the playground was not intended to be built with that plastic handle located where it is, then the construction company that installed the playground may be named liable. Your lawyer may be able to establish that the construction company acted negligently when assembling the jungle gym incorrectly, and that this faulty assembly caused your child's shoelace to become stuck, leading to the injury.

Filing a personal injury case when a playground is properly maintained and constructed is difficult. In situations like this, it's important to keep in mind that there is a high probability you'll lose your case against the construction or manufacturing company, and that the playground owner's insurance will end up paying for your child's medical costs.

Scenario 3: Your child falls off of the monkey bars at school, resulting in a concussion. You later find out that the teacher who was supposed to be watching them was on her cell phone at the time of the accident and not supervising the children properly.

If your lawyer is able to prove that a lack of supervision contributed to your child's fall from the monkey bars, the school may be named liable in this case. The teacher herself would not likely be named liable, since she was acting as an employee of the school when she presumably behaved negligently.

Every case is different. In some situations, it may be determined that the accident could have happened whether or not the teacher was supervising properly. Perhaps the monkey bars were constructed improperly, and this contributed to the fall. In this case, the playground construction company may be liable.

Personal injury cases regarding injuries that occur to children on playgrounds can be very complex. Usually, either the organization that owns the playground, an entity that fails to provide expected supervision, or the playground manufacturer is held liable. The best way to know who can be named at fault in your case is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney from a site like http://www.breslinandbreslin.com.


11 February 2015