From broken glass to poorly maintained equipment, there are all sorts of hazards that can cause serious injuries on playgrounds. If your child was hurt in a playground accident, you may be wondering if you have grounds for a personal injury claim and who might be liable. The best way to get the answers you seek is to schedule a free consultation with a playground injury lawyer.
Read on for the answers to some general FAQs about these cases:
1. Who can I sue if my child was injured on playground equipment?
The answer to this question depends on the cause of injury and where the accident happened. If an aggressive playmate pushed your child off a playground structure, for example, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim against his or her family. If the injuries weren’t serious, it may be possible to reach a satisfactory resolution to the matter through negotiations with the perpetrator’s family; however, it’s still a good idea to discuss your case with an attorney so you know how to protect your right to take legal action if an amicable agreement is not reached.
If the injury was caused by a dangerous condition on the property—such as broken glass, poorly maintained equipment, or broken parts—you may have grounds for a premises liability claim against the party that owned or controlled the property. If the injury happened at a public playground or school, you may have grounds for a claim against the city government or school district. There are specific requirements for bringing claims against government entities, which your lawyer can help you meet.
If your child’s caregiver failed to provide adequate supervision, he or she might be liable for the injury and the resulting damages; however, there could be mitigating factors in this scenario. For instance, if the caregiver’s attention was deterred by another emergency, this may impact their duty of care at the time of the accident.
Sometimes a playground injury can be traced back to defective equipment. In this scenario, it may be possible to hold the product manufacturer strictly liable for your child’s damages. Other parties that may be liable include the product designer or retailer, or the party that installed the equipment.
2. What factors can influence the potential value of a playground injury claim?
The cost of emergency care and medical treatment can be exorbitant after a playground injury. About 1 in 10 children who receive medical care for a playground accident are diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, which may require several months or even a lifetime of ongoing care. If your child was severely injured, it’s only natural to be concerned about the financial impact of the accident.
Fortunately, your family may be able to obtain compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Examples include:
- Bills for medical care;
- Other objectively verifiable losses such as home and vehicle modifications to accommodate new disabilities, transportation to medical appointments, and home care;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of life enjoyment; and
- Pain and suffering.
Below we’ve listed some of the factors that might influence the potential value of your family’s claim:
- The Severity of Your Child’s Injuries: The nature of your child’s injuries not only will impact the cost of medical care but also could affect the calculations for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment in life.
- The Value of Necessary Services: There are all sorts of expenses that might arise when a child suffers a serious injury. It may be necessary to modify your home or vehicle, for example. Such costs can be included in the settlement calculations.
- Other Factors: If the accident occurred on private property, your financial recovery may be limited by the property owner’s insurance coverage. If the case proceeds to litigation, certain costs such as expert witness fees might be deducted from the final settlement or verdict.
3. What should I do after a playground accident?
There are steps that parents can take after a playground accident to give their subsequent injury claim the best possible chance of success. Those steps include:
- Get Your Child to a Healthcare Facility: Your child’s safety is the top priority. Even if their injuries don’t seem very serious, they should still undergo a prompt medical evaluation. Some injuries have latent symptoms, and seeking immediate care may improve the prognosis. Also, getting official documentation of the injuries right after the accident can help your attorney prove causation and damages.
- Document the Scene: If you are transporting your child to the hospital or clinic, ask someone to stay behind to document the scene. Take photos of the equipment involved in the accident and the general area from multiple angles. Write down the contact information of eyewitnesses. If another child caused the injury, record the contact details of his or her parents or supervisor. Pictures of the child’s injuries should also be taken.
- Speak to an Attorney: A playground accident lawyer can help you determine the most strategic way to proceed with your claim. Your attorney can gather evidence, help you account for all the damages your family may be owed, and fight for the highest possible settlement.
- Avoid Mistakes: Make a concerted effort to avoid mistakes that could adversely impact your claim. Examples include ignoring the instructions of your child’s doctor, providing a recorded statement to the opposing party, or discussing the matter on social media.
Discuss Your Situation with a Playground Accident Lawyer in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If your child was injured in a playground accident and you want to pursue damages, contact the Law Office of Michael D. Waks. Whether you bring the claim against a public entity, private individual, or the manufacturer of defective playground equipment, attorney Michael D. Waks has the experience and resources to help you navigate the proceedings. Call (562) 206-1939 or send us a message to set up a free consultation. We will come to you if you are unable to come to our office.
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