• Who is Liable for Faulty Playground Equipment?

    Playground EquipmentAs parents, we view playgrounds as a gift to our children: whether we take them there on our own or they’re provided at school or day care, they provide our children with a great way to burn off extra energy, get some exercise and fresh air, and get away from screens and toys. Because these facilities are happy places, when a child is hurt on a playground it can feel like a betrayal, especially when the injury is caused by faulty playground equipment. Once medical care has been provided, the question turns to who is at fault: in some cases, it is an issue of premises liability, in some, it is negligent supervision, and in other cases the injury is a result of a product defect. Let’s take a look at each.

    Premises Liability

    Any entity with a playground on their property has a responsibility to protect against foreseeable dangers that could occur on their site. This means that they need to inspect both the property and the equipment that is on it and act to ensure that it is safe. The elements that must be present to prove a premises liability case include an expectation that the injured person would be on the property; a failure to exercise the proper amount of care, and a link between that failure and the injury.

    Negligent Supervision

    Most playground injuries are a result of negligent supervision. Though playgrounds located on parks or public land do not provide supervision, schools and day care facilities and the like have a duty of care to act in the absence of the child’s parents to make sure that they are safe and to prevent foreseeable harm. Elements in negligent supervision cases include proving that the defendant had agreed to supervise the child and failed in doing so, as well as that the child was injured as a result of the failure.

    Product Defects

    When playground injuries are a result of defects in either the design or manufacturing process of a piece of equipment, a product defect lawsuit may be appropriate. Examples can include unsafe surfaces, loose screws or nuts holding equipment together, insufficient padding beneath equipment, protruding parts and head entrapment hazards. Manufacturers are also held responsible if their equipment fails to provide appropriate warnings of dangers or instructions for proper use.

    If your child has been injured in a playground accident and you believe it is a result of negligence on the part of the premises owner, the person responsible for your child’s supervision or the product’s manufacture or design, contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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