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Can I Sue if My Child Was Hurt on a Playground?

Published on May 14, 2024 at 3:02 pm in Premises Liability.

Children love playgrounds. Going down slides, climbing faux rock walls, or swinging on the swing set are all favorite things for young children to enjoy. And as parents or adults who care for younger children, we love being able to let our kids run and play and burn off energy in what we assume is a safe environment.

But sometimes playgrounds aren’t as safe as they’re supposed to be. Your child fell because a piece of the playground equipment broke, or they tripped over protruding shrubs that were planted too close to the slide. Your child has suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, and you want to hold someone responsible, but who is liable, and can you pursue legal action?

In this blog, we’ll address the question, “Can I sue if my child was hurt on a playground?” and discuss how a Charleston premises liability attorney can advise you of your legal options.

Leading Causes of Playground Injuries

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 200,000 children under the age of 16 suffer from injuries on playgrounds every year. Some of the most common causes of these injuries are:

  • Improper protective surfacing
  • Insufficient equipment spacing
  • Trip hazards
  • Unprotected elevated areas
  • Protrusion or entanglement hazards
  • Entrapment in openings

It’s a good idea to check playground equipment and the area around it before your child starts to play. The National Safety Council (NSC) offers some advice on how to check for playground hazards to keep your child safe.

Who Can Be Held Liable When Kids Get Hurt?

It depends on the exact nature of how your child was injured. For example, if overgrown grass or weeds cause your child to trip and get hurt, you could pursue legal action against the property owner for failing to uphold their duty to maintain a safe playground. But if your child’s injury was caused due to a part of the playground equipment breaking or malfunctioning, the manufacturer of the playground equipment or the contractor who installed it could be held responsible.

Property Owners

All property owners have a duty of care to maintain a safe and secure property. So, if a property owner has a playground on the premises and they don’t maintain either the equipment or the trees or grass surrounding it, they may be held liable for injuries that occur. Additionally, if it can be proven that the property owner installed equipment known to be unsafe, or they failed to post signage warning about proper usage or the intended age of children who should play on it, that may be cause for a premises liability claim as well.

Property owners could be anyone from your next-door neighbor to the school or daycare your child attends. Depending on who the property owner is might dictate how complex your case becomes.

Manufacturers

Sometimes, the property owner does everything they’re supposed to do to ensure their playground equipment is safe for use, and something still goes wrong. If a safety railing becomes rusty when it’s supposed to withstand weather and daily use and then breaks and a child falls, it could be a defect in that part of the equipment. In cases like this, the manufacturer of the playground equipment could be held responsible for your child’s injuries, and you could file a defective product case against them.

If you don’t know the manufacturer of the playground equipment, you could still pursue legal action against the property owner for having a dangerous condition on their property.

Contractors

Another contributing factor in determining who can be held liable for injuries on a playground is the contractor who assembled the equipment. While the property owner and the manufacturer may have done nothing to cause the equipment to fail or a child to be injured, if the contractor assembled the playground incorrectly or failed to include vital safety equipment, they can be held responsible for the injuries your child sustained.

It’s important to have a qualified lawyer to help with cases like this, as they can become increasingly complex. You want to ensure that no other children suffer due to someone else’s negligent actions.

What If My Child Didn’t Have Permission To Be On the Playground?

Anyone who has been around children knows that they don’t always like to listen or stop to think about what might be dangerous. Younger children, in particular, have little understanding of things that might be unsafe for them to do, which can pose a risk when they’re in proximity to something as inviting as a playground.

Playgrounds, like swimming pools and fountains, are considered an attractive nuisance. That is, something enticing to children that may pose a threat to their safety. Property owners who have pools or playgrounds installed on their property should have a fence, gate, or other security around such attractive nuisances. This would prevent children from wandering onto the property and suffering an injury.

Young children don’t have the same reasoning skills that adults have regarding trespassing or threats to their safety. As such, the laws regarding trespassing of minors are given special consideration in these situations.

If your child is injured on a playground, even if they didn’t have permission to be there, you could still file a claim against the property owner if you or your lawyer can prove that the property owner failed to properly secure access to an attractive nuisance.

No matter what caused your child’s injury on a playground, our legal team at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC will gladly take a look at your case and assist you in pursuing a lawsuit against those responsible.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. Viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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