As the weather starts to change and temperatures start to even out, more and more children start migrating to neighborhood playgrounds again. And while these playground visits are likely the highlight of your child’s day, accidents can happen. Parents of children who have sustained injuries in playground accidents in Atlanta should speak with premises liability attorney Jason R. Schultz at 404-474-0804 about their eligibility for compensation today.
What causes playground accidents?
If your son or daughter suffered an injury on the playground, your first thought after ensuring they are healthy is probably to figure out what happened. Below are four common ways that children suffer injuries on the playground.
- Defective equipment: Was flawed design, construction, or installation the reason for your child’s injuries? Was a piece of equipment unstable or broken?
- Improper grounds keeping and maintenance: Did the child slip and fall because of the condition of the grounds (e.g., cracked or uneven concrete)? What is the surface underneath the play structure? Is it soft and shock absorbing or something hard like concrete?
- Inadequate supervision: Was the child's caregiver paying attention to what the child was doing? Could she have, in any way, prevented the accident? If, for example, the child was using the equipment in an inappropriate manner, what did she do to stop them? Was the babysitter or daycare worker at fault for your child’s injuries?
- Other children: Children are rambunctious and sometimes another student may injure your child, purposefully or not. Who was responsible for watching these children? What did they do to prevent the accident? How are they keeping other children on the playground safe?
Who is legally responsible for a child's playground injury?
Depending on the cause, location, and facts of the accident, a number of parties might be liable.
For example, if the accident happened on a school or daycare playground (during regular business hours), the employees may be liable for failure to adequately supervise the children. If the employees are liable, there is a good chance that the owner or manager of the daycare will be liable as well under vicarious liability (i.e., an employer is responsible for her employee’s behavior while that employee is on the clock).
A babysitter or other caregiver may also be liable, if they were responsible for caring for the child at the time of the accident.
If the accident occurred at a public park or playground, the local government entity in charge of maintaining the park may be liable. On the other hand, if the accident occurred on private property, the property owner may be liable
If flaws, such as the design, manufacture, or installation of the playground, contributed to the incident, the companies involved in those steps may be liable.
What kinds of injuries can occur in a playground accident?
Many of the injuries occur from falls, such as from the top of the slide, the monkey bars, etc. This can lead to head trauma, such as a concussion. Also, some might suffer dislocations or fractures, which many times are a result of the child extending his hand during a fall to brace for impact. In fact, the arm is the most commonly injured part of the body, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Less serious injuries include abrasions, contusions, and cuts. Sprains and strains are another type of playground injury, such as twisting an ankle or foot when running around. Some children may suffer more serious injuries, such as strangulation, entrapment, or internal injuries that may cause damage to organs.
What legal recourse may be available and what damages might I be eligible to recover?
In many cases, parents of injured children will have options, such as filing a claim or lawsuit against the negligent party; however, the at-fault party will dictate the time limits for filing a claim.
For example, if the at-fault party is a private business or individual, injured parties have two years to file a claim. However, this differs for government entities; under O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5, injured parties must give the entity notice of the intention to file a claim within six months of the accident.
The statute of limitations also differs in this case because the injured party is a child. This means that the statute of limitations does not begin to “toll” until the child’s 18th birthday, which means that the victim has until her 20th birthday to file an injury claim.
If a parent (or child) can establish that another party’s negligence caused the injury in question, the injured victim may be eligible to receive compensation for damages, such as:
- Medical bills
- Home renovations
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages (if the parent had to take time off work or quit her job to care for the child)
In this case, as the victim is a child, damages such as future lost wages, may be unavailable as it is difficult to establish how much money the child would have earned throughout his lifetime.
Can I get help with my case?
A child’s injury is a terrible thing, but parents do have options. And attorney Jason R. Schultz wants to make sure parents know those options are available. Jason helps injury victims file and manage claims, gather evidence, interview eyewitnesses, and negotiate for a fair settlement.
If your child sustained injuries in a playground accident, contact Jason today at 404-474-0804 for a free consultation.