Legal concepts like “duty of care” or negligent supervision, and even immunity, are used by states to determine liability after a child has been seriously injured on a playground. Playgrounds come in all sorts of sizes and designs, all manufactured for different ages and level of activity. They can be on private grounds like a neighbor’s house, or on public property like a state park or beach. Most often, injuries that occur on playgrounds are caused by reckless behavior and misuse of the equipment, but other times, it can be from defective equipment, poor assembly, and more.
It is understandable that some parents might suspect that their child’s serious injury could have been caused by something or someone else. In this case, it is wise for families to learn their rights, as well as, the legal systems used to make these kinds of judgements and more. Continue reading to learn whether or not a person can sue if their child is seriously injured on a playground.
Playgrounds on school properties, like daycares and grade schools, are under the responsibility of the school. For this reason, schools and children’s centers have a legal duty of care to protect kids from any foreseeable hazards on school property, including playgrounds. If a child is injured as a result of a hazard that should have been foreseeable and prevented, parents may have a valid personal injury claim against the school.
For example, let’s say a child swinging on a swing-set is injured because the top wooden plank holding the chains breaks off as a result of decay and rot. In this case, the school failed to meet their duty of care because they neglected to replace the rotting wood before an accident happened.
Schools have a responsibility of regularly inspecting their property and grounds for hazards and other structural issues. By not noticing the rotted wood, or by failing to resolve it in a timely fashion, the school carries the liability for the child’s injuries. A claim could very well be brought against them.
Aside from a school’s “duty of care”, there is another legal concept called negligent supervision that can also determine liability. Negligent supervision occurs when a person (i.e. teacher, daycare attendant, babysitter, etc.) is given the responsibility of supervising a child (or children) but neglects that responsibility, causing injury or trauma to the child that could have been prevented with proper supervision.
Schools are acting in place of parents, therefor, they have a responsibility to implement an effective system of supervision in order to protect minors from any foreseeable harm. So if a child is injured while under the care of school authorities, and the injury was caused by a lack of sufficient supervision, a family may have a valid personal injury claim against the school.
For example, playgrounds are generally monitored by teachers during recess. If there is an insufficient number of teachers for the number of children being monitored, this is a lack of supervision. Also, if said teachers are not paying attention or leave recess unattended for any number of minutes, and an accident happens that could have been avoided had an adult been watching, the school could be guilty of negligent supervision.
It is important to consult a licensed personal injury lawyer to learn your rights to compensation following a serious injury to yourself or your child.