In children 1 through 21 years of age, injuries are the most common cause of death. Some of these injuries occur on what should be fun-filled activity centers for children: public and private playgrounds. Some children are even killed due to the serious injuries they suffer on California playgrounds.
If your child has been injured on a playground in California, you need to speak with an experienced California personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and learn about your legal rights.
How Many Children Are Injured on Playgrounds?
More than 200,000 children go to emergency departments across the United States each year because of playground injuries. Around 15 children are killed in these accidents.
Boys are at a higher risk of suffering serious injury or death on playgrounds. Approximately 62 percent of playground deaths are boys. Additionally, boys are three times as likely to be injured at school.
Types of Injuries
Fractures are the most frequently reported injury in playground accidents, comprising more than one-third of all injuries.
Other frequently reported injuries include contusions and abrasions, lacerations, strains and sprains, and internal organ injuries.
Some of these injuries may cause lifelong complications, pain, or disability.
Common Causes of Playground Injuries
By far, falls are the most common cause of playground-related injuries. In fact, one statistic shows that close to 80 percent of all playground injuries are due to falls. Falls are also responsible for up to 90 percent of the most serious playground-related injuries.
After falls, equipment-related issues are the second most common cause of playground injuries. Equipment-related issues include poorly designed equipment, improper assembly, breaks, or even equipment falling over.
Incidental injuries (those that involved hazards around the playground but were not directly related to the playground itself), collisions, and entrapment are other frequently cited causes of playground injuries.
If the playground has installed an impact absorbing surface, such as rubber matting or bark chips, the chances of injury decrease significantly.
Monkey bars and play gyms are the sites of most playground injuries—more than one-third of all injuries occur in these locations. Swings, slides, and seesaws were also linked to playground injuries.
Who is Liable in a Playground Injury Claim?
There are a number of possible defendants in a playground injury claim. These may include:
- Private daycares
- School districts
- Construction companies (for installation of the playground equipment)
- Playground equipment manufacturers
The party that owns the playground has a duty to maintain it and regularly inspect it to be sure it is free from safety hazards. The failure to properly maintain a playground and its equipment may be grounds for a premises liability claim if a child sustains serious injuries.
If the equipment itself is faulty–for example, it has been poorly designed or manufactured–the playground equipment manufacturer may face liability in a products liability claim.
If the defendant is a government entity, such as a school district or municipality, the injured victim has six months to file a claim against that entity. If the defendant is a private individual or entity, such as a daycare center, the statute of limitations is two years.
California’s Playground Safety Law
California is one of only a few states that has passed legislation on the maintenance and safety of playground equipment. Public play areas must be initially inspected by Certified Playground Safety Inspectors. Each playground must also implement an inspection program.
In addition, playgrounds must meet the American Society for Testing and Materials and United States Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.
If a playground owner has failed to comply with California’s playground laws, the owner may be found liable for a child’s injuries.
Damages in a Playground Injury Case
In a playground injury case, the following expenses may be sought:
- Medical bills
- The cost of future medical care
- Lost wages (if parents missed work to care for the child)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- The cost of installing wheelchair ramps, handrails, and other equipment to accommodate a child’s injury
Experienced California playground injury attorneys carefully study the facts of a claim to determine what avenues of recovery are available to children and their families. These attorneys work with a network of experts to present the link between the child’s injuries and the negligence of the defendant.
If your child has suffered injuries on a playground, you should have an experienced attorney review the case to determine if negligence is to blame.
Call Kuvara Law Firm to Discuss Your Child’s Case
If your child was injured on a playground, you may be entitled to compensation.