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Who is Liable for Playground Accidents?

Now that school is back in full swing, there are millions of children playing on playgrounds every day. Playgrounds provide kids with an opportunity to have fun, unwind, and engage in creative play. But when playground equipment is not properly maintained, or supervision is poor, injuries can occur.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 200,000 children go to the emergency room annually for playground injuries. Although the vast majority of these injuries are minor, children do suffer serious and life-threatening injuries every year. These include bone fractures, concussions, internal injuries, and amputations. In some cases, playground injuries can be fatal. Between 1999 and 2000, an average of 12 children died from playground-related injuries each year.

Was Negligence a Factor?

Playgrounds can be found at schools, daycare centers, community parks, and on private property. That being said, most playground accidents occur at school or daycare. To determine liability, you must first determine whether negligence played a role in your child’s injuries. A Boston personal injury attorney can help you determine how to proceed if your child has been injured due to another’s negligence.

Factors to Consider

When determining negligence, several factors will be considered. These include:

 

  • Was the equipment properly maintained? If a child is injured on playground equipment that is worn, broken, sharp, or that has rusted, the school or daycare may be liable. It is their job to properly maintain equipment, and replace broken or damaged parts immediately. If the playground is located in a community park, the municipality may be responsible.

 

  • Was there adequate supervision? Schools and daycare centers are responsible for providing adequate – and competent – supervision when children are on a playground. One adult might not be enough; there should be an appropriate child-to-teacher ratio at all times. However, you can’t expect someone to supervise your child outside of school hours, at community playgrounds, or on private property unless a specific arrangement has been made. If you leave your son alone at a community park, for example, and he falls off the climbing wall while you’re gone, you can’t claim another’s negligence.

 

  • Were reasonable safety measures taken to prevent injuries? Playgrounds should be designed and installed to prevent injuries. That’s why you see soft ground surfaces instead of concrete, and equipment with round edges instead of sharp corners. If a playground lacks these safety measures, the school, playground designer or installer, business, or municipality might be on the hook for resulting injuries.

 

Product Liability

Did the equipment have a design or manufacturing error? In certain situations, negligence can still be a factor when the playground is well-maintained and supervision is adequate. If an error or defect occurred during the design or manufacturing of the equipment, you may have a product liability claim.

  • Design defects: These are defects that occur during the design process, making the product inherently dangerous. For example, the designer may have made the slope of a slide too steep. If injuries occur as a result, the designer may be liable.
  • Manufacturing defects: If the design was solid, but the manufacturer didn’t follow the design exactly, used ill-fitting parts, or caused any other error during the manufacturing process, any injuries could be the responsibility of the manufacturer. A MA injury attorney can help you determine who is liable for your injuries, and how to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Personal Injury Law Firm

If you have been injured due to another’s negligence, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys will ensure that you fully understand your rights and options, and we’ll be with you throughout the entire process. If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.