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Playground Injuries: Who Is Liable?

Many children spend time on the playground at some point during their day, whether they are in elementary school or middle school. Over the years, playground safety has evolved, and there have been great strides made to keep playground equipment safe for all children and lower the risk of injury. However, accidents still happen at times.
Schools with playgrounds often require parents and students to sign a waiver at the beginning of the school year.

Those waivers protect the school from any liability if a child is injured in school. Today, we will take a closer look at playground injuries and find out who may be liable for them.

Enforcing Liability Waivers

Courts enforce liability waivers as long as they meet the criteria. Even then, they are only enforceable to a certain extent. For example, the waiver signed by parents and student needs to be clearly written and signed, but ordinary negligence may be involved. Those waivers also only limit the school's liability when there is no evidence of gross negligence, intentional torts, or illegal acts done by either students or staff.

Negligence is defined as the failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm. Ordinary negligence on a playground could be when the equipment is inspected and a loose bolt goes unnoticed. Gross negligence would be when the school fails to have the equipment inspected at all and fails to make necessary repairs.

Who Is Liable?

If your child was injured on the playground due to lack of supervision, inadequate instruction, and improper equipment, then the school may be held liable. This also applies to schools and daycares alike.

For the defendant to be deemed accountable, they need to have agreed to supervise the child on the playground but failed to ensure the child’s safety. Additionally, the injury should’ve been due, even in part, to the inattentiveness of the defendant.

It can be hard to establish liability in some cases, however. For this reason, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to help you learn more about negligent supervision as grounds for a personal injury claim for a playground accident.

People who may be liable in playground injuries are the owners of the playground, the contractor who put it together, and even the city if the playground is on public property.

It can prove much more challenging to sue the government for playground injuries than a private entity. In those cases, the city will investigate the situation and present a settlement offer that they feel is warranted for the child’s injuries. The plaintiff will only be able to sue for damages if and after the city has rejected the claim they filed.

Back To School

As more states take the necessary steps to reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the health and safety of students are of utmost importance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 21,000 children ages 14 and younger suffer from traumatic brain injuries and concussions due to an accident on the playground every year.

Safety needs to remain a high priority as schools and playgrounds begin to reopen across the country. Playground equipment should be properly inspected and regularly maintained. Failing to do either can pose a serious risk of injury for children.

If your child has been injured in a playground accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Don't hesitate to reach out to a personal injury attorney to discuss your case and see what steps you should take.