More than 200,000 children under the age of 14 are injured each year in playground accidents, according to the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). While it may seem normal for children to injure themselves when they play, the NRPA reports that more than half of the annual playground injuries are the result of badly designed or defective equipment. Playground accidents shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially because nearly half of them result in serious injuries, such as concussions, fractures, internal injuries, dislocations, and injuries that require amputation.
Playground equipment can be hazardous for a variety of reasons. There are many safety standards in place in regards to playgrounds in order to keep children safe. If a playground or piece of equipment is badly designed, incorrectly built by the manufacturer, or poorly maintained, your child could face serious injury.
There are certain standards in design, build, and maintenance that must be followed in order to render equipment safe for children. All playgrounds should have some sort of protective surface for the benefit of playing children. When a playground has tall equipment with money bars or lofty ladders, there should be a soft place for children to land if they fall, such as sand or mulch. Ladders should also have guard rails to prevent children from falling out, and all equipment should lack sharp objects that could cut or seriously hurt a child at play.
A company designing playground equipment for children has a legal duty of care, and therefore must design something a child should be able to play on safely. Should a company make dangerous or malfunctioning equipment, by design, they are legally liable for the harm caused. Likewise, if a manufacturing company executes a design poorly or incorrectly, they could be at fault. If, for example, the bolts did not fit correctly and a piece of the equipment was not secure, they are liable for the resultant damage. Equipment should also bear adequate warning labels and instructions for children and their parents to warn against improper use.
The owners of the playground, such as a school, daycare center, or the city, should be properly maintaining the playground. Failure to do so could leave fragmented, sharp pieces of equipment out in the open for children to fall into or step on. Worn down or broken playgrounds can be just as hazardous as dangerously designed equipment.
If the child is playing at a school or daycare when injured, the party responsible for watching your child may also be at fault. Playground should always be supervised by an adult when children are at play, and if your child’s school or care center failed to provide that supervision, they could be liable.
The best thing to do after your child is injured in a playground accident is to take them to a doctor immediately. Have their injuries taken care of, and documented, should you need to take legal action. Also, take photos of the site of injury and take notes about what happened and any other details. If, for example, the equipment broke while your child was using it, take photos of the broken equipment and your child’s subsequent injury. After the immediate danger is put aside, contact your attorney.
At Sico Hoelscher Harris & Braugh LLP we understand how traumatic a playground injury can be for a child, and how frustrating and terrifying it is for a parent. If you are in need of legal representation following your child’s injury, we want to help you in your fight for justice and the right to fair compensation.
Contact Sico Hoelscher Harris & Braugh LLP today for a free case consultation.