Children are accident prone, and just about every parent knows that fact. When you are with your child at a playground, you expect them to come back with a scrape or bruise from their adventure. What you do not expect, however, is a serious accident that could have long-term consequences.
Playgrounds seem innocent enough, but accidents happen. Whether it is a scrape, bruise, burn, or serious injury, more than 200,000 children are injured every year on playgrounds according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If your child was injured at a playground, what legal options do you have?
Injuries on a playground can happen. As a parent, it is best that you understand your legal options so that if the unexpected occurs, you know where to turn.
Every year, emergency departments see hundreds of children ages 14 years and younger injured on playground equipment. Per the CDC’s statistics:
Injuries in a playground setting can vary. Sometimes the injuries are minor, while other times these injuries are so severe that a child must be hospitalized. Some common causes of injuries on the playground include:
Schools and those working at playgrounds owe a responsibility to children that use those premises. They are required by law to ensure that any predictable injuries or dangers are addressed. To sue a playground for your injuries, you would need to do so under the legal theory of premises liability.
To succeed in a premises liability case, you must show:
One important question to ask is whether there was a defect that caused the injury – and if that defect was by design or construction.
A design defect means that the concept of the playground was dangerous from the start; thus, other playgrounds just like it would also be defective. For example, a playground that does not have the proper spacing in between elements is defective from the get-go.
A construction defect means that the design of the playground was within safety specifications, but the party responsible for constructing it at the school site created a defect, which then created a hazard.
In these instances, the manufacturer or company responsible for constructing the playground could be named in the lawsuit.
Finding out which party is responsible for your child’s injuries is not always easy. Sometimes, it could be the school or a teacher from the school. Other times it may be the property owner, park owner, park maintenance company, daycare facility, or preschool.
Here are a few examples of liability.
When a child goes to school, daycare, or another child care facility, parents send their children knowing that an adult is taking responsibility for watching the child. Therefore, if a child is injured, that person could be legally responsible for any injury the child suffers because of their lack of attention.
Teachers and caregivers must take reasonable steps to avoid any foreseeable harm to students and children under their watch. That means acting practically to avoid injuries.
Therefore, parents may sue for negligent supervision for playground injuries when:
A child is at school is let out for recess where they play on the playground. There is no supervision at the playground and a fight breaks out. One child is pushed from the playground equipment and breaks her arm. The school could be sued for negligent supervision because there was no one present to monitor the children, and the school has the responsibility to monitor students on school grounds during school hours. Also, had a staff member been present to stop the fight, the injury would not have occurred. Thus, proving negligent supervision.
Public schools are considered part of the government; therefore, filing an injury claim against a public school is different than it would be for a private school or residence. Suing the government requires that you follow a strict set of procedures, which means notifying the district of your intent to file a claim. It is best that you consult with an attorney to review your options – especially if you are dealing with a public school.
If your child was injured on a playground, speak with an injury attorney from Malman Law. Our team is ready to help you find the responsible party and not only hold them accountable, but also ensure that the park is corrected so that these accidents do not happen again in the future.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney from Malman Law today at 888-751-2297 or request more information online.
Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.
Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2023