One of the favorite places that children love to visit is the playground. Not only are playgrounds fun for children – running around, playing on the rides, and engaging with other children – they are also physically and emotionally healthy for children, providing physical activity and social interaction.
But playgrounds can also be a place of danger for children if there are issues with the playground equipment. If a child is injured because of defective or dangerous equipment, parents need to know what legal recourse they have in order to protect their child’s right to financial compensation for their injuries.
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How Common Are Playground Injuries?
According to national statistics, more than 200,000 children arrive in emergency rooms each year because of injuries they received at playgrounds. The most common cause of injuries is falls, which are responsible for almost 45 percent of ER visits. Another 25 percent of ER visits are because of playground equipment problems. Some of the more common issues cited for equipment injuries are:
- Broken equipment
- Equipment not maintained correctly
- Equipment not assembled correctly
- Equipment that tips over
- Poorly designed equipment
The most common injury that children sustain from playground accidents is bone fractures. This is followed by bruises, cuts, sprains, and internal organ injuries. One of the most dangerous injuries is also one that increases each year: brain injuries. More than 20,000 children sustain concussions each year from playground-related accidents.
The pieces of equipment responsible for the most injuries, approximately 35 percent, are jungle gyms and monkey bars. Almost 30 percent of injuries occur on swings, followed by slides, at 20 percent. It should also be noted that there are more than double the rate of injuries at playgrounds that do not have impact-absorbing surfaces, such as rubber mats, sand, or wood chips.
Who Is Responsible?
When a child is injured at a playground, the question of who is responsible becomes critical to the liability of the losses that child and their family suffers because of their injuries. At Shapiro & Appleton, our Virginia personal injury attorneys have handled numerous playground injury cases and know the evidence in these cases often reveal one of the following parties as liable:
- Companies that designed or manufactured the defective equipment: If there was a design flaw or some kind of error during the manufacturing process, the company responsible could be legally liable.
- Installers of equipment: If the company who installed the equipment failed to do so properly and ensure that equipment would not tip over, snap, etc., then the company could be deemed liable for the child’s injuries.
- Owner or operators of the playground: If the party responsible for maintaining the playground and its equipment failed to do so, failed to inspect equipment, repair or replace broken equipment, they can be held liable for the child’s losses. If the organization is a government entity, such as a city or school playground, the process for filing an injury claim may fall under different legal rules than if the owner is a private business or organization.
Contact our Virginia Accident Law Firm
If your child has been injured because of defective or dangerous playground equipment, contact Shapiro & Appleton to meet with one of our Virginia personal injury attorneys to find out what legal options you and your family may have. Call our office to set up a free and confidential case evaluation.