Playground injuries are a fairly common and unfortunate occurrence at public schools, daycare centers, city parks, private schools, and private homes. The majority of these injuries result from either unsafe equipment or unsafe behavior by children.
Operators of playgrounds have a duty to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance and inspection of their playgrounds so as to prevent foreseeable harm to children playing. If a child is injured on a playground, the operator can be held civilly liable if the following elements are met:
- The defendant owned, leased, occupied or controlled the property.
- The defendant did not exercise the proper amount of care.
- The child was injured in a foreseeable way.
- The defendant’s carelessness was a substantial factor in causing the child’s injury.
The “proper amount of care” that an operator must exercise consists of periodically conducting inspections of the playground equipment and repairing any problems. A court would find that a playground operator did not exercise a reasonable amount of care if the operator had never conducted an inspection of the playground and a child injures him or herself due to, for example, a crack in a metal slide that an operator would have noticed through a periodic inspection.
It is estimated that approximately 40,000 hospitalizations per year result from injuries to children on playgrounds. If your child or the child of someone you know has been injured due to a playground operator’s failure to exercise a proper amount of care, please contact our office.