Playgrounds are meant to be fun and safe places for children to play, but unfortunately, accidents can and do happen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were an estimated 200,000 children under the age of 15 years who were treated for playground-related injuries in emergency departments in the United States each year between 2012 and 2017. This equates to an average of 33,333 playground injuries per year in this age group. It should be noted that not all playground injuries require emergency medical treatment, so the total number of injuries may be significantly higher than stated. Additionally, these statistics only account for injuries treated in emergency departments and do not include injuries treated in other medical settings or injuries that were not treated at all.
If a child is injured on a playground, parents may wonder if they have any legal recourse. The short answer is yes, it is possible to sue if a child is injured on a playground, but the outcome will depend on several factors.
One of the most important factors in determining if a lawsuit is possible is the cause of the injury. If the injury was the result of a manufacturing defect or faulty equipment, the manufacturer may be liable for damages. In this case, the lawsuit would be a product liability claim.
Another potential cause of playground injuries is negligent maintenance or upkeep. If the playground equipment was not properly maintained, the owner of the playground may be liable for damages. This could include failure to repair or replace broken equipment, failure to keep the playground clean and free of hazards, or failure to warn of potential dangers.
Here are some common playground injuries:
Fractures and broken bones: Children may fall from playground equipment, such as monkey bars or slides, and suffer fractures or broken bones.
- Cuts and bruises: Children may get cuts and bruises from falls or colliding with other children on the playground.
- Head injuries: Falls from playground equipment or collisions with other children can result in head injuries, including concussions.
- Traumatic injuries: In rare cases, children may suffer more severe injuries, such as spinal cord injuries or internal organ damage.
- Sprains and strains: Children may suffer sprains or strains from landing awkwardly after a fall or twisting an ankle while running.
- Dislocations: Dislocations can occur when a child falls and a joint is forced out of its normal position.
It is important for parents and caregivers to supervise children on the playground and ensure that they are using equipment appropriate for their age and size. Proper maintenance and inspection of playground equipment can also help prevent injuries. If a child is injured on a playground, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately and document the incident for potential legal action.
In some cases, the cause of the injury may be the result of a lack of supervision. For example, if a child is injured because they were playing on equipment meant for older children, and there was no supervision to prevent them from doing so, the school or daycare may be liable for damages. Similarly, if a child is injured because of a fight or other dangerous activity on the playground, and there was no supervision to prevent it, the school or daycare may be liable.
It’s important to note that not all injuries on a playground will result in a successful lawsuit. In order to succeed, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent and that the negligence was the direct cause of the child’s injuries. Additionally, the plaintiff must be able to show that the injury resulted in damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
When pursuing a lawsuit for a playground injury, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. A skilled attorney can help assess the strength of the case and determine the best course of action. They can also help ensure that all necessary evidence is gathered and presented in court, and can negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of the plaintiff. So while it is possible to sue if a child is injured on a playground, the outcome will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding the injury. If the injury was the result of negligence, lack of supervision, or a manufacturing defect, the plaintiff may have a case for damages.