Spoiler alert: Trampoline parks are not safe for children.
The parks ask you to sign a waiver of liability – often unenforceable – before allowing your children into the trampoline park. Many parks also require parents to agree to arbitration on behalf of their children in an attempt to keep you out of court if your child is injured or killed.
If your child has been injured at a trampoline park in Myrtle Beach, do not make any statements to the trampoline park employees and do not sign any documents before you have met with your SC trampoline park injury lawyer in Myrtle Beach.
Call your personal injury lawyer at Coastal Law immediately to set up a consultation.
What are Common Trampoline Park Injuries?
It’s impossible to track how many children have been seriously injured or killed at trampoline parks because many of the families have been forced into arbitration agreements and have been forced to sign confidentiality agreements.
According to experts, however, injuries sustained by children at trampoline parks include:
- Broken bones;
- Broken backs;
- Broken necks; and
- Dislocated or open-fractured elbows and shoulders.
Spinal cord injuries and brain injuries suffered at trampoline parks can result in traumatic brain injury (TBI), paralysis, or other lifelong disabilities.
Despite the proliferation of confidentiality agreements in trampoline park cases, CBS News has identified six deaths at trampoline parks in recent years.
What Causes Trampoline Park Injuries?
The injuries are caused by poor design of equipment, and are often the result of “double bounces” that result from multiple people jumping on the same trampoline:
McPherson said the danger lies in the design. Several trampolines are connected with steel cables or chain links under thin padding. As people jump, waves of energy are generated in all directions, which can cause those “double bounces” that can end in high-impact collisions.
“They’re moving at speeds and with energy that when they hit or get hit by somebody else that’s twice their weight, they end up with crush injuries,” McPherson said.
Injuries are also caused by inadequate padding on walls and floors:
That all changed in 2017 when Swezey visited a trampoline park in Virginia with Scandalios and their twins. Scandalios said Swezey was jumping on the trampoline when he came down wrong on his foot, stumbled, and hit his head against a thinly padded wall.
“The C2 vertebra cracked, constricted his airway and his blood flow, paralyzed him. He was over 90 percent brain dead,” Scandalios said.
Are Trampoline Parks in Myrtle Beach Regulated?
Trampoline parks are not regulated by the federal government anywhere in the United States.
Some states (not SC) have passed laws requiring oversight from insurance companies and annual inspections, and the International Association of Trampoline Parks has “has launched an initiative to require third-party inspections,” but there is still no government regulation of trampoline park safety.
Trampoline Park Waivers, Arbitration, and Secrecy
Trampoline parks know that your child may get seriously hurt or even killed – they continue to operate because it’s big money. They know that you will sign their liability waiver and arbitration agreements because you want your child to be happy.
The problem is, your child is probably not capable of understanding the risk they are taking. If your child signed a liability waiver for a trampoline park, the agreement would be void. SC law, however, does not address whether it is legal and valid for a parent to waive liability on behalf of their child…
What rights do trampoline parks ask you to waive on your child’s behalf? Myrtle Beach’s Rockin’ Jump trampoline park, for example, requires the parent to sign a waiver of liability that would absolve the company of liability for:
- Equipment malfunctions;
- Lack of safety equipment;
- Building malfunctions;
- Negligence on the part of the trampoline park or any other person or entity.
The liability waivers imply that they absolve the park of all liability for anything that could happen to your child – negligence, gross negligence, or intentional conduct on the part of the park employees.
No supervision? They’re not responsible. No safety equipment or safety equipment they know is insufficient? They’re not responsible. The waiver acknowledges that using their park may result in severe injury or the death of your child – then invites you to bring your child to play…
It contains a clause that would make the parent responsible for the park’s attorney fees if the parent sues after an injury, and it also waives your child’s right to publicity – allowing the park to use your child’s picture or video of your child to market their business.
Are Child Liability Waivers Enforceable?
SC does not have any case law that I am aware of that provides guidance for whether a parental waiver of liability on behalf of a child is valid.
Children, however, deserve special protection under SC law. Although you may be “assuming the risk” for injuries that are a natural and foreseeable consequence of the activity, you are not assuming the risk of injury or death caused by the trampoline park’s negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts.
You have the right to assume that a business would not operate under unsafe conditions that could hurt or kill your child. A business that markets to children has a duty to keep those children safe.
What Should I Do If My Child is Hurt at a Trampoline Park in Myrtle Beach?
First and foremost, protect your child and get them any emergency treatment that they need.
Do not make any statements to the park’s employees or representatives from their insurance company until you have met with your attorney.
If you are able, document the unsafe conditions that caused the injuries – take photos or video before they have a chance to fix the problem, and get names and contact information for any witnesses.
As soon as possible, contact our office to find out what your options are.
SC Trampoline Park Injury Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, SC
The trampoline park injury attorneys at Coastal Law will investigate your child’s accident, help you to determine who is liable and whether a release of liability will be enforceable, and work to get maximum compensation for your child through settlement or trial.
Call the Myrtle Beach trampoline park lawyers at Coastal Law today at (843) 488-5000 or email us through our website to set up a free consultation and case review.