Child Injury

Posted by Tentinger Law Firm

When your Child Suffers Injury on a Playground

Playgrounds are generally considered a haven for kids, a safe place to exercise and socialize. The sad fact, however, is approximately 200,000 kids visit the emergency room every year due to injuries suffered in these recreational areas.  Another alarming statistic is that 45% of these injuries are considered severe. Learn about what often happens in injury cases and what you should do if your child gets hurt on a playground.

Where They Occur:

These days you never have to travel far to find a play park for children. They are in schools, daycare centers, public parks, apartment complexes, churches, your neighbor’s backyard and even in some restaurants. The Centers for Disease Control report that climbing accidents are the most common occurrences in public areas while swings involved injuries happen most often in backyard play areas.

Common Injuries:

Children are injured more often on playgrounds than in bicycle and automobile accidents. Falls from climbing equipment can result in dislocations, broken bones, knocked out teeth and concussions. “Pinch” accidents in which a finger or foot or other body part is compressed in an apparatus can result in crush injuries (sometimes necessitates amputation). Serious lacerations are also common when children get hurt on equipment. Your child might need stitches, crutches, a sling, cast or brace. Physicians might order x-rays or scans to fully access your child’s injury. Surgery is even required in some instances. Document every detail of your child’s treatment. Request specialists if your child has suffered particularly severe injuries that require expert care.

Causes:

Poorly constructed and improperly maintained playgrounds account for many injuries to children. Protruding pieces of metal and exposed nails on monkey bars, seesaws and slides pose hazards to active kids. The lack of guardrails on climbing structures help account for falls that result in serious injury. Many children suffer harm when playing on apparatus that has problem areas where a hand, foot, arm, leg or even head might become entrapped {“stuck”). Rotten wood on some pieces presents a danger for kids. Strangulation risks also exist in children’s favorite play places due to ropes and chains attached to equipment. Finally, some playgrounds do not provide a shock absorbing surface such as wood chips to help soften falls and decrease the chances of severe trauma from falls.

Aside from injuries that occur from equipment issue, negligence is another chief cause of injuries when children are on the playground. Proactive supervision is incredibly important when kids play in parks. Too often though, children are not properly supervised and suffer accidents that should not happen. For instance, children might improperly use equipment as when they do such things as standing on slides, running behind someone swinging or climbing too high for their skill level. Adults need to watch for these and other dangerous behaviors or stunts so they can intervene and perhaps save their charges from tragic incidents. Guardians also prove negligent when they do not stop children from bullying one another or roughhousing.

Actions to Take:

If your child is harmed on a playground there are several actions you need to take. First, you should  check on your child’s condition if you are present when the accident happens. If you fear your child has suffered a broken bone or concussion, do not move her. Call for medical help immediately. Take pictures and videos of the scene.

If you are not there when your child is hurt, you will have to rely on statements from those who witnessed the incident. Talk to everyone who was there, including other children. Record or take notes on what each person reports. Ask for details as you attempt to discern the cause of the accident. Carefully examine the specific area where your child was hurt. You might find a defective piece of equipment or other evidence that could prove important should you file a lawsuit. Consult the National Program for Playground Safety for information to help determine if something on the playground in question does not meet established standards.

Survey the site for any warning signs and/or surveillance cameras. Also, you need to find out who is responsible for the premises. For example, public parks are maintained by the city or town, school districts handle school play areas, and daycare centers are generally owned by private citizens.

Legal Recourse:

When your child is injured while playing on defective playground equipment or gets hurt due to a lack of appropriate supervision, you need help. You likely face significant medical bills. Your child experiences pain and suffering that was preventable. It is time to seek compensation from those responsible. Hire an attorney with experience in handling playground injury cases.

If you believe the entity or person(s) responsible for the playground itself is at fault, your counsel must prove certain things. For instance, there is the need to show the equipment was not properly maintained. Also, your attorney must establish your child had the “right” to play there.

Your lawyer also needs to provide evidence when you believe your child suffered harm due to negligence. First, your legal representative must establish that the adult(s) agreed to monitor your child while she played. Also counsel has to prove the accident were preventable but occurred because the person(s) in charge proved inattentive.

Should a court of law determine your child suffered avoidable injury, your child will receive compensation in whatever amount is deemed appropriate. A judge will require these funds be deposited in an account that cannot be accessed by your child until he or she is of legal age.

Help is Available:

Your child suffered harm in a place designed for her to play. She should have been safe, instead she is hurt and, perhaps traumatized, by a serious accident. She deserves recompense for pain and suffering. Get the help you need to make sure your child is fairly compensated. Please contact us to find out how we can assist you.