We often expect that playgrounds designed for children will be safe. Sometimes, this isn’t the case, and playground equipment can fail dangerously. Playground equipment may become dangerous for a number of reasons. Equipment may have a manufacturer defect, it may have been improperly installed, it may have been adequately maintained, or it may just be suffering from wear and tear. Whatever the case may be, a playground can cause great harm if the equipment is not in top shape.
Some common defects of playground equipment include:
- Unsafe surfaces or inadequate padding beneath equipment
- Loose screws or nuts
- Lack of safety mats
- Protruding parts that can cause injury
- Spaces that can trap a child’s head or limbs
Negligent supervisors or maintenance companies can cause playground injuries, but many injuries are caused by defective equipment. Defects can include poor design or faulty manufacturing. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides guidelines for manufacturers, including suggestions about materials to use and signage to include that warns of dangers and appropriate use. Manufacturers who follow these guidelines may reduce their liability.
Product Liability Actions
There are many steps involved in the creation of playground equipment, from design, to manufacturing, to installation and maintenance. If a child is injured by defective playground equipment, each of these will be investigated for fault.
Design defects: Poor design, such as a lack of hand railings, moving parts that can pinch, and protruding parts, can be dangerous to children. This can place liability for injuries on the manufacturer.
Manufacturing defects: Manufacturing defects include inferior materials, easily breakable or loose bolts, and incorrect construction. These types of defects can also leave the manufacturer liable for accidents.
Inadequate warnings: Instructions for safe use and warnings of danger should be included with playground equipment. The warnings should be clearly visible to users, inspectors, and maintenance personnel. Failure to include these warnings causes liability for the manufacturer.
Improper maintenance: Playground operators have a duty to maintain and install equipment properly. Failure to adequately maintain playgrounds or properly install the equipment creates liability for the playground operator or construction company that installed the equipment.
What to Do if Your Child Is Injured
If your child is injured in a playground-related incident, first seek medical treatment for their injuries. Maintain careful records of their treatment, medications, and follow-up care. Your medical bills can add up quickly, but knowing what treatment your child has had could help get you the compensation you need.
If possible, contact witnesses for their statements about what occurred. Concerned parents can be a powerful tool in a case that goes to court. Have them clarify the manner in which your child used the equipment; make sure they sign and date the statement. Keep a copy of their contact information as well.
Take photographs of the scene. Be sure to note the locations of any warnings or instructions for use. If these signs are not plainly visible, you may be able to show manufacturer liability. You may also wish to take photographs measuring any openings or gaps that could cause a child to become trapped.
Wait until your child’s treatment is finished to settle any legal action. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you negotiate with insurance companies for adequate compensation, or can fight for your case in a personal injury lawsuit. It may be difficult to prove fault for your child’s injury, but your attorney should know what steps to take to do so.
If your child has been injured in a playground accident, contact our experienced Denver personal injury attorneys. We can help you fight for your case and protect your rights. Contact Jordan, Herington & Rowley today to find out about your free case consultation.