There is no better place to witness the human capacity for joy than a playground.
Kids run, laugh, spin, discover the quirks of gravity, and make new best friends … all while wearing themselves out and ensuring a good night’s sleep for themselves and their parents.
Of course, kids have a knack for banging themselves up, and most parents have wiped away a few tears, applied a Band-Aid to a knee or an elbow, and encouraged their child to climb right back on those monkey bars.
We may not think about it until it happens, but often playground injuries are much more serious than Band-Aids – many children suffer life-changing injuries on playgrounds, and some even die.
Who is responsible when children are hurt or even killed on a playground? Can you sue, and, if so, who?
Too Many Children Are Seriously Hurt on Playgrounds
Just one child who is hurt when they should have been playing in safety is one too many.
But, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- More than 200,000 children 14 or younger are treated in emergency rooms for injuries suffered on playgrounds each year;
- Almost half of playground injuries are severe – broken bones, concussions, dislocations, and internal damage;
- About 20,000 playground injuries result in treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the rate of these injuries is on the rise;
- About 75 percent of playground injuries happen in public playgrounds, usually at schools;
- Of the children who die in playground accidents, about two-thirds die of strangulation, and 15 percent die of falls. Most strangulations involve slides, swings, jump ropes, dog leashes, or drawstrings on clothing;
- Children between ages 5 and 9 have the highest rates of injuries that lead to emergency room visits, and most of their injuries happen at schools; and
- Girls are slightly more likely than boys to be injured on a playground, but boys are more likely to suffer TBI.
Who Is Liable for Playground Injuries?
Accidents happen, and, in some cases, no one is legally responsible for a playground injury.
But, schools, other playground operators, and property owners have a duty to not injure visitors or allow conditions that could lead to injury or death. When they breach that duty and someone gets hurt, it’s negligence, and they may be held liable for any damages that result in a premises liability lawsuit.
The most important obligation playground operators have is to inspect and properly maintain their equipment. Playground equipment takes a lot of abuse from the weather and from children. Ropes fray, wood rots, screws and bolts come loose, nails protrude, and smooth edges become sharp.
Usually, operators also have an obligation to provide adequate supervision. Schools have a heightened duty of care for children, and they are responsible for making sure children are supervised on the playground.
Some other playgrounds make no guarantee of supervision, and parents are responsible for making sure their children are accompanied by an adult at these playgrounds. But, when supervision is provided, the operator may be held liable if their system of supervision fails to prevent an injury.
Can the Equipment Manufacturer Be Sued for Playground Injuries?
The companies that make playground equipment have a duty to ensure their products are safe.
If they fail to do so and someone is injured, they could be faced with a product liability lawsuit. Manufacturers can be held liable if their equipment was designed or manufactured in a way that made it unreasonably dangerous to children or if they failed to provide adequate instructions or warnings about the equipment.
Playground Accident Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston, SC
If your child has been injured in a playground accident, contact your SC personal injury attorney at Coastal Law immediately.
We can help you determine if someone’s negligence led to the injury, and, if so, who should be held responsible. If the accident happened at a school or another government-owned playground, we can help you navigate the complicated process of suing a government entity. We will investigate, gather the evidence you need to make your case, demand that the responsible party or parties compensate you, and file a lawsuit if they refuse.
Call Coastal Law now at (843) 488-5000 or use our online contact form to speak with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer who cares.