Public Playground Safety: Who Is Liable If Your Child Is Injured?
Public playgrounds are a haven for young children, but they aren’t always built with safety in mind. These engineered play areas are designed to let children run, jump, and play freely, whether that means swinging from the monkey bars or climbing the mini rock wall. However, these adventurous spaces can be extremely dangerous if they’re poorly designed, improperly assembled, or simply too old.
If your child was injured on a public playground, it’s important for you, as a parent, to understand your rights and legal options. Playgrounds are meant to foster safe play, but if they’re poorly created or badly maintained, they can be extremely hazardous. Following a serious playground injury, you need to find out who could be liable for the damage your child sustained.
What Caused the Injury?
Determining liability can be complicated, but it starts with determining what caused the playground to be unsafe. Once you’ve identified the cause of your child’s injury, you’ll be able to trace that issue to the liable party. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has a set of strict criteria that each public playground must satisfy. Unfortunately, some of these standards may be overlooked, ignored, or unmaintained, which can result in unsafe playground equipment.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, roughly 200,000 injuries that require emergency treatment take place on public playgrounds each year throughout the United States.
Playground injuries may be caused by:
- Falls (especially where a child falls from the playground equipment)
- Lack of a protective surface below the playground equipment
- Poor playground maintenance, or the absence thereof
- Improper installation or construction of playground equipment
- Sharp or dangerous playground components
- Openings in equipment that can lead to head entrapment
- Poor equipment layout or design
Depending on the cause of your child’s injury, several parties could be at-fault for the resulting damage.
At-fault parties may include:
- The government office responsible for establishing the playground
- The city or parks office that oversees the playground
- The manufacturer of the equipment
- The contractor who installed the playground
- The grounds maintenance personnel responsible for maintaining the playground
- The adult responsible for supervising your child at the time he or she was injured
If, for example, your child was injured by a sharp, broken swing, the city may be liable for failing to fix the danger, as could the maintenance crew who makes necessary equipment repairs, or the summer camp that took your child to the park on a field trip. In these types of cases, determining responsibility can be tricky, and more than one party can be liable, which is why it is so important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney.
Contact Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman today to discuss your child’s playground injury with our team.