Who Can Be Held Liable for Playground Injuries?
Playground injuries are more common than many parents realize. Every year in the U.S., more than 200,000 children visit emergency departments for playground-related injuries. Almost half (45%) of these injuries are severe, such as brain injuries, fractures, internal injuries, and amputations. Public, school and at-home playgrounds can pose significant threats to child safety. Inherent dangers in the equipment’s design, part malfunctions, and negligent supervision can all lead to harmful accidents. If your child suffers a playground injury, learn whom you might hold responsible.
School and Daycare Center Supervisors
One common reason for playground injuries is the lack of adult supervision. School jungle gyms, daycare playgrounds, and private play equipment require adult supervision to prevent injury. Even when children use a safe piece of playground equipment correctly, an incident can occur from other children pushing, pulling, or fighting with them. It is a supervisor’s responsibility to prevent or break up fights before they result in injury.
In other cases, a poorly supervised child may use equipment in an unsafe manner, such as climbing on top of monkey bars or jumping off of swing sets. If a playground injury stems from improper supervision and not a defective or dangerous product, you may be able to hold the supervisor and/or establishment liable for damages. The same is true for a babysitter or neighbor that fails to supervise your child on a home playground. Any person or establishment with a duty of care to supervise your child may become a defendant in these cases.
In the event of inadequate supervision at school or a daycare, you may be able to hire an Austin daycare injury lawyer and bring a case against the school itself or the whole school district. Since the teacher or school personnel in charge of watching your child is an employee of the facility, the Texas courts may hold the school or daycare center liable. Lack of supervision may also have resulted from understaffing or improper employee training. Cases against babysitters would be against an individual, unless the babysitter was an employee of a staffing agency or company.
Improper maintenance is another common cause of playground injuries. All playground equipment requires regular maintenance such as the tightening of loose screws, replacement of missing parts, and safety checks. Maintenance-related hazards on playgrounds may include trash on the ground, rusty equipment, and damaged fall surfaces. It is the playground owner’s responsibility to maintain the property and keep it reasonably safe for visitors.
The first question to ask when assigning responsibility for poor maintenance is who owns the playground. If your child was playing in a public area, the town or city is likely responsible for maintenance and playground upkeep. If it was at a school, the public school district may be in charge of maintenance. Bringing a personal injury claim against a governmental body can be difficult, as these suits follow different rules than other types of claims. Hire an Austin personal injury attorney for help bringing a case against the state, city, county, or school district.
Manufacturing defects and design flaws are common causes of playground injuries. A swing missing a link in the chain or a metal slide with a jagged edge are examples of defective and dangerous playground equipment. If your child suffered an injury due to a piece of faulty equipment, you may have a product liability case. You do not have to prove a manufacturer’s negligence in these cases – you must only prove that the equipment is defective and that the defect caused your child’s injury.
No matter what the circumstances, always contact an attorney regarding your child’s serious playground injury in Texas. You may be eligible to receive compensation from the responsible party or parties.