Playgrounds serve as a source of excitement for our children, as they provide a welcome reprieve from the indoors and are a place to make new friends. But they can also be dangerous. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital emergency departments treat 200,000 children 14 and under each year due to playground injuries. The bulk of these injuries occur at daycare facilities and on school property.
Playground injuries can be severe in nature. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that playgrounds are more likely to produce severe injuries than car accidents. Common injuries include:
- Dislocation injuries
- Internal bleeding or bruising
WHAT CONTRIBUTES TO PLAYGROUND INJURIES?
Myriad factors cause injuries on the playground. Some of the most common include:
- Maintenance and design of equipment. Poorly designed and improperly maintained playground apparatus can cause injuries. Children can cut themselves on sharp corners or fall from faulty monkey bars, for example. Older playgrounds may be made of wood or metal, putting a child at risk for splinters or burns. Over time, bolts loosen and steps become worn, so maintaining equipment is essential to our children’s safety.
- Lack of adequate supervision. When we entrust our children’s safety to others, we expect them to adhere to reasonable standards of care. Regular supervision of a child is essential to keeping them safe. Younger children, in particular, are often unaware of their own limitations. If a teacher, daycare worker, or other staff member fails to provide adequate care, he or she may be guilty of negligent supervision.
DETERMINING LIABILITY FOR PLAYGROUND INJURIES
Who is responsible for your child’s injuries? It is a fair question, and it varies with the circumstances. In general, determining liability depends on a couple factors:
- Playground ownership. Knowing who owns the playground is the first step in assigning liability. The owners may be responsible if they did not maintain the playground properly. Municipalities or local government agencies usually own public parks, for example, while school districts are responsible for parks on school grounds.
- The manufacturer. In the case of a faulty design, builders or manufacturers of the playground equipment may be to blame. A local construction company charged with building the structure may be responsible for any execution errors, while an inherent flaw in design may be the fault of the party who designs or manufactures parts.
States pass laws that set minimum standards for safety in playgrounds. In addition, the Consumer Product Safety Commission offers advice about safety standards for playground equipment. Failing to adhere to these standards constitutes negligence.
MY CHILD WAS INJURED AT THE PLAYGROUND. WHAT ARE MY NEXT STEPS?
Watching your child suffer is one of the worst things parents face. Children can experience severe injuries from playground equipment defects and inadequate supervision. Fractures and dislocations can take months to heal, and the aftereffects may last a lifetime. Extensive injuries may require surgery or other invasive procedures. They take an emotional and financial toll on the entire family.
If this scenario sounds familiar, elicit the advice of an experienced attorney. The Nielsen Law Firm is committed to protecting Houston families. We take our 30 years of experience and put it to work for you. We will not stop until we secure the settlement you deserve—even if that means taking the case to trial. A settlement will not undo the damage to your family, but it will provide you with the tools to heal.
Contact our firm today for a free initial consultation. We will review your case, risk-free, and advise you of the best course of action. Schedule yours now.