Who Is Liable For Playground Injuries? A Texas Child Injury Lawyer Answers
If your child is injured on a school or daycare playground, you may be wondering who is responsible. In general, there are three potential parties who could be held liable: the owner of the playground, the designer of the playground, or the manufacturer of the playground equipment. The first step is to determine whether the injury was caused by an issue with the playground itself or by the negligence of another child. If the injury was caused by a dangerous condition on the playground, then the owner of the playground could be held liable. If the injury was caused by a defective piece of playground equipment, then the manufacturer could be held liable. Finally, if it can be shown that the playground was not designed safely, then the designer could also be held liable. In any case, it is important to speak with an experienced child injury attorney to determine who may be held responsible for your child's injuries.
My name is Attorney Brit Mitchell, I'm a Texas child injury attorney and for decades I've represented injury children and their families after kids are harmed from playgrounds in disrepair or situations of inadequately supervision. If you are unsure whether you have a case, it is best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney that handles premises liability cases on behalf of minors
Read on to learn how liability is determined in playground accident cases, whether the school or facility is immune from lawsuits, and when to hire a lawyer for that handled child injury claims.
Playground Injury Statistics
Unfortunately, playground accident are far too common in the United States. The Center of Disease Control provides that more than 200,000 children aged 0 to 14 visit the emergency room for playground-relation injuries. To make matters worse, nearly 50% of accidents that occur on playgrounds cause bone fractures, shoulder injuries, internal bleeding, traumatic brain injuries, dislocations, and limb amputations.
According to the CDC, the majority of playground-related injuries occur on the climbing equipment. Slides are the next most common type of equipment involved in injuries, followed by swings and monkey bars. Falls from height are also a major concern, as they can lead to broken bones and concussions. As such, it is important to make sure that kids are supervised at all times when they are playing on a playground. By paying attention to their activities, adults can help to prevent accidents and ensure that everyone has a safe and fun time.
Frequently Asked Playground Accident Questions
Each day my law firm receives calls from parents from across Texas inquiring as to how they can seek financial compensation for how their child was harmed during play. Questions such as, "Can I sue after my child was hurt on a playground?" seems simply and straightforward. However, the answer changing depending on the owner and operator of the premises at the time. The following frequently asked questions provide insight into the situations that cause most children to experience harm on or around playground equipment.
My child was injured on a daycare playground, what should I do next?
What you should do after your child is injured at daycare is make sure they obtain medical care and contact an attorney. The daycare facility may be held responsible if the injury was caused by negligence on their part. For example, if the playground equipment was not properly maintained or there were no adult supervision, the daycare may be held liable. If the injury was caused by another child, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against their parents. However, it can be difficult to prove that the other child acted deliberately or with intent to harm your child, so consulting with a daycare injury attorney is needed. If the equipment was defective or not properly installed, the manufacturer may also be held liable. To determine who is liable in your situation, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. They will be able to review the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action.
Are public schools immune from lawsuits that occur on the playground?
Texas law requires that public school districts designate an employee as the district's risk management officer. The Texas Tort Claims Act imposes liability on governmental entities and their employees for certain torts if the plaintiff proves that the tort was committed by someone acting within the scope of his or her employment and that the tortious conduct did not involve discretionary functions. The Act also imposes liability on a governmental entity if it is proven that a dangerous condition of tangible personal or real property owned or leased by the governmental entity existed and the entity had actual knowledge of the condition, but failed to take reasonable action to correct it. In your case, if your child was injured on a public school playground, you would need to prove that the injury was caused by a dangerous condition of the playground equipment or by the negligence of a school employee. If you are successful in doing so, then the public school district would be liable for your child's injuries. Texas law does require, however, that you give notice to the public school district of your claim within six months of the date of injury. Therefore, if you have not already done so, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
My child was injured on a private school playground, can I sue?
Private schools are not protected by the Texas Tort Claims Act, so parents can sue the issue stems from the school's responsibility in keeping the playground and the children using it. However, some f the same exceptions apply. If the equipment was defective or not properly installed, the manufacturer may be held liable. To determine who is liable in your situation, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. They will be able to review the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action.
My child was hurt on the playground of our apartment, do we need a lawyer?
If your son or daughter is injured within the playground area of your complex, hiring an attorney is necessary to investigate the scene and determine your legal options. Apartment owners and managers are often engaged in cost-shaving or cost-saving initiatives when completing multi-family housing units and may attempt to save money when constructing common areas such as the playground or recreational facilities. These amenities are often unsafety building, are poorly designed, incorrectly assembled, or are inadequately inspected or maintained. Attorneys often hire structural engineers to serve as case experts in playground accident cases, which helps determine the cause of your son or daughters injuries. Sometimes, the premises owner or manager is the liable entity, but other times, the toy or construct itself is defectively designed, making the product manufacturer or distribute liable under the strict liability theory.
How To Prove Liability In Texas Playground Accident and Premises Cases
In playground accident cases there are two main types of liability: negligence and strict liability. The key difference between the two is that negligence requires proof of fault, while strict liability does not.
In order for a negligence claim to succeed, the plaintiff must first show that the defendant owed the child a duty of care. Second, the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached that duty by failing to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would have used in the same situation. Third, the plaintiff must show that this breach of duty caused the child to suffer harm. If the plaintiff is able to prove all three elements, they may be entitled to compensation for their damages.
Strict Liability Theory
However, if your child is injured as a result of a product defect or other strict liability issue, then your family may be able to recover damages even if the other party was not at fault. Stated more simply, in playground cases where the toy or product has a design defect, then the product maker is automatically liable. Playgrounds must be age-appropriate in order to lower the chances in which kids experience accidents while at plays. Play sites must also, always, have proper fall surfacing since many serious injuries are the result of falls. Rubberized matts or other fall-safe materials are important to protect child that fall during playtime. This is why it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and help you determine the best course of action. In most cases I prove the strict liability by securing evidence in the form of camera footage, safety reports, and maintenance reports. I also send a structural engineer to the playground to determine whether the equipment could be been made safer.
What damages can my child recover in a Texas child injury claim?
In Texas, there are four main types of damages that can be awarded to your child in a personal injury case: medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Medical expenses include all the costs associated with your child's injury, from hospitalization and rehabilitation to surgeries and prescriptions. Lost wages refer to the income you as the parents missed out on and would have earned if your son or daughter had not been injured, and property damage covers the cost of repairing or replacing any personal belongings that were damaged in the accident. Finally, pain and suffering compensates your child for the physical and emotional anguish caused by their injuries, which include, scarring, emotional trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder. If you've been injured due to someone else's negligence, contact my law firm to discuss your legal options.
Texas Playground Accident Injury Lawyer Brit Mitchell
If your child was injured on a playground anywhere here in Texas, the most important thing you can do is to seek medical care for their injury and consult and consult with an experienced child accident attorney. My law firm is dedicated to helping families navigate the complex legal process and ensure that your son or daughter's rights are protected, so feel free to give me a call. Our playground accident team can help your child recover the economic and non-economic damages they are entitled to.
Our law firm helps families in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso, and any throughout the State of Texas. An remember, consultations are always free and you owe our law firm nothing until we win for your child. Let us make a difference in your life.