Children need to get their energy out, and the playground is the perfect outlet. Parks and playgrounds are great ways for children to socialize and learn. There is a range of different activities available for them. Parents are under the impression that the playground is a safe space for their children. Sadly, children are injured on the playground every day. No, we are not talking about them losing their balance and scraping their knees; we are talking about serious injuries caused by negligent parties.
Bringing a claim against the property owner is not as simple as you may think. Private and public playground owners have to keep the premises and equipment safe and in working order. However, property owners do not always live up to their duties, which causes serious injuries. Child injury cases are complex, and you will need the help of a Huntsville premises liability attorney.
What causes playground accidents?
The cause of the accident will heavily influence the outcome of your claim. Once we determine how the accident occurred, we can hold the correct party liable for their negligent actions. The most common cause of park and playground injuries are:
- Hazards on the premises
- Unsafe playground equipment
- Lack of maintenance and upkeep
- Unsupervised or under supervised children
Children cannot be left unattended on the playground. There must be a responsible adult present, whether it is a public or private playground. Playgrounds are located in different places, like daycare centers, schools, and parks. There are different rules and regulations regarding each location.
Who can be held liable for a playground accident?
Determining who is responsible for a playground accident will depend on how the accident happened and who owns the property. For example, if the playground is on school property, you might file a claim against the school board. While in school, teachers and other staff are required to keep all students safe. Any harm that befalls the students during school hours within the premises is the school’s responsibility and, by extension, the school board.
If the injury occurred on a public playground in Huntsville, for example, the city would be the liable party. A private playground will result in the private owner being held accountable for accidents and injuries. One unique situation is when the injury is due to defective playground equipment, which results in the product manufacturer being the liable party.
What does premises liability mean?
A premises liability claim is the type of injury claim you can file when your child is harmed on the playground. When it comes to playgrounds, these cases are full of legal complexities. You will need to prove the following for a successful claim:
- Your child was a party that was expected to be on or use the property
- The defendant in the case owned or operated the property legally
- The owner or manager did not uphold their duty of care
- Your child was injured through a foreseen cause
- The negligent or lack of action led to the child’s injury
Each premises liability case is unique, and while the aforementioned elements need to be present, other factors need to be considered. There are also state ordinances that can complicate your claim. You can discuss the details of the injury with a premises liability attorney.
What does product liability mean?
Any product that is on the market needs to pass several inspections. The product must be safe to use and not cause harm. This premise also applies to playground equipment. Warning signs are displayed on playground equipment. If playground equipment is unsafe or becomes defective, the manufacturer can be the liable party for your child’s injury. Three parties can be held responsible for a defective product claim, including the designer, manufacturer, or seller. An attorney can help if a defective product results in a child’s injury.
What is negligent supervision?
We previously addressed that school playgrounds require supervision. At a school or daycare, the teachers, caretakers, staff, and security need to be aware of all children’s movements in their care. These parties are required by law to take reasonable precautions to ensure your child’s safety. When an adult who has been entrusted with your child does not keep your child safe from harm, this is negligent supervision. Some elements must be present in negligent supervision cases, such as:
- Their lack of attention contributed to or resulted in your child’s injury
- The adult did not take reasonable steps to keep your child safe
- The adult agreed to supervise your child
Agreeing to supervise your child is implied when you drop your child off, and it is within school hours. This implied supervision is often an area of contention in premises liability cases. Whether it is obvious or not, consult with a personal injury attorney to determine your legal rights in these instances.
There are many ways a child can be injured on a playground. You can try to prevent accidents by supervising them yourself or another responsible adult. Accidents can happen if the playground owner does not maintain the property or has defective equipment installed. When your child is injured on school grounds, the school board will be the liable party. Child injuries are incredibly complex as the child often cannot describe what happened or file a personal injury claim on their own. An attorney can help guide a family through the legal process.
Statutes and laws are different for child injury cases compared to adult personal injury cases. Your child may be entitled to recover damages if they sustain a severe injury on a playground. We understand this all sounds confusing, so we invite you to discuss your case with the playground injury lawyers at Martin & Helms today. Call 256-539-1990, or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Huntsville and Decatur, and serve clients in Madison, Athens, and North Alabama.
Choosing the right personal injury attorney is an important step in building a better future. You deserve a lawyer who works one-on-one with you, and who can develop a plan for you to move forward. When you choose Martin & Helms, you get Clay Martin and Tara Helms: experienced, compassionate counselors who put your best interests first. We invite you to read more about us.