A Simple Guide to Filing a Playground Injury Lawsuit in 2024

Knowing how and when to file a playground injury lawsuit will help you win your case with a hassle-free procedure.

Every year, more than 200,000 children go to emergency rooms because of a playground-related injury. Moreover, in over 80% of playground injuries, children suffer fractures, concussions, major lacerations, and even death.

If your child is suffering from an injury due to a freak playground accident, filing a playground injury lawsuit would be a wise decision. Playground injuries are painful for the child and expensive for a parent. For injuries sustained while at school playgrounds, school districts may be held liable if they committed negligence or failed to provide the level of care required in keeping the child safe.

Who is responsible for playground accident injury?

Any or all of the following may be held liable to pay for playgrounds accident compensation:

  • School.
  • Teacher.
  • Coach.
  • School district.
Playground Injury Lawsuit

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Types of injuries that occurred in a playground accident

Here are some of the injuries children could sustain from a school playground accident:

  • Ankle sprains.
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.
  • Broken or fractured bones.
  • Concussions.
  • Heat-related sickness.
  • Injuries to the eyes.
  • Knee injuries.
  • Pulled muscles or tendons.
  • Shoulder damage.
  • Spinal trauma.
  • Stress fractures.

An injured child should be brought to a physician who can immediately attend to the child’s injuries. Not only do these injuries hurt, but they could also be traumatizing to the kid.

When is a school liable for child sports injuries?

When a student is injured during a school sports activity, such as a practice session or a competitive event, the liability may fall on several parties. For example, the coaches, teachers, and school administrators have a duty of care to their students – at all times – while within the school’s vicinity. However, when they fail to follow their duty of care, which results in an injury, they may be held liable for damages for child sports injuries.

The school district may also be liable for unsafe conditions on school property. When the school does not properly keep school property in a reasonably safe condition that causes an accident, the school may be liable under Pennsylvania premises liability laws. Even if a coach, facilities manager, or teacher was negligent in causing the playground injuries, the school district might still be liable for damages. This is because, under respondeat superior laws, an employer can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees.

In addition, schools must have parents sign waivers to allow their students to participate in school sports. However, while schools can exempt themselves from inherent risks associated with school sports, they may not force you to waive risks that are not inherent to the sport. A trusted playground injury lawyer will help you understand your rights and help you fight to get maximum compensation for your child’s injuries.

Common issues at the playground that increases the risk of injuries

Here are some of the causes of playground accidents:

  • Entanglement in ropes or wires that are present on some playgrounds.
  • Improper safety materials, lack of safety mats, and padding that will not cushion a child when he lands.
  • Floor hazards such as potholes, raised lips, or other issues that lead children to trip and fall.
  • Narrow openings that may prevent children from escaping, leading to strangulation and entrapment.
  • Swing sets that are not properly attached in certain areas, such as loose seats or unfastened chains at the top of the bars.
  • Ladders that are not linked to equipment, have loose rungs, and are liable to break.
  • Rusty, worn, or otherwise defective equipment can have all sorts of issues.
  • Lack of maintenance by workers and repairmen can cause materials to wear out much faster.
  • Lack of guardrails or safety bars on equipment can cause children to fall off.
  • No supervision from adults, workers, or other people watching over the children.

Compensation in a playground accident lawsuit

Once you and your lawyers prove your case against the school district, teacher or coach, you will be able to get playground injury compensation for the injuries and other related damages. Compensatory damages include financial losses associated with the injury, as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering. Here is a list of compensation you will receive for the playground injuries and trauma of your kid.

  • Past and future medical bills.
  • ER treatment.
  • Surgical costs.
  • Playground accident compensation for loss of scarring, limbs, or disfigurement.
  • Loss of income, if applicable.
  • Pain and suffering.

Students suffering from serious or permanent injury have to deal with the above damages for the rest of their lives. Therefore, if the injuries leave your kid disfigured, scarred, or disabled, you and your child deserve to be compensated for all the losses and injuries suffered from playground accidents.

In some circumstances, you will be able to get punitive damages where the accident was intentional or when the school tried to cover up some wrongdoing by the school officials.

Determine who is at fault before filing a playground injury lawsuit

Before filing for playground injury claims, you should first determine who is responsible for the student’s injury. It could be a coach, the school itself, a staff instructor, another student, or the manufacturer of equipment that caused the injury. 

It is also possible that local laws make the school officials of a public school immune from suit. Talk to a playground injury lawyer in Pennsylvania and discuss the facts of your case. As your trusted lawyer, Ethen Ostroff will study your case and see to it that your and your child’s rights are vindicated.

How to make your playground injuries claim stronger

To have strong evidence, it’s best to follow these steps:

  • First and foremost, get medical treatment for your child. Your attending physician should be able to document as well the injuries sustained by the child.
  • Take pictures and shoot videos of the playground injuries your child suffered.
  • Save all medical bills and doctor’s notes of your child’s injury to get maximum compensation for the accident.
  • Take pictures of the playground and the defective or broken materials.
  • Interview any eyewitnesses or individuals who have personal knowledge of the playground accident. Get their testimonies and statements.
  • Contact a skilled playground injury attorney who can represent you and handle your claim perfectly.

If the playground injury happened at a business or entertainment location, you could hold the owner of the venue liable. So, get all the contact information of the party that owns the property. If the injury was due to defective equipment, get the name and contact details of the company that sold or manufactured the material.

There could also be multiple defendants that share in part or all of the liability for the student’s or the child’s injuries. An experienced playground injury attorney at Ethen Ostroff Law can help you determine the defendants in your lawsuit.

Things to prove at the trial

At a freak accident playground trial, you need to prove that the school or its employees are responsible for the student’s injuries, and that liability was not waived or subject to immunity. Your playground accident attorney should prove the following at the trial:

  • The child or student was injured in the playground or property.
  • The defendant owns or was in charge of the playground or property
  • The defendant failed to provide the amount of care required of them.
  • The defendant committed negligence or carelessness in the supervision of the child and the playground or property.
  • The defendant failed to provide immediate assistance to minimize the injury after the accident.

Statute of limitation in filing a playground accident lawsuit

Pennsylvania personal injury claims have a statute of limitations of two (2) years from the date of the freak playground accident. As children are underage, their parent or legal guardian has the right to file a lawsuit on behalf of the injured child.

However, if the parent does not file within two (2) years from the accident, the child can file the case once they reach the age of 18. Therefore, the injured child has until his 20th birthday to file his playground injury claims.

It is generally recommended to file a claim as soon as possible to ensure all evidence is kept intact and not lost or corrupted. It ensures that the responsible party pays for the damages and does not go out of business, flee, or become bankrupt.

If you are the parent of the child who is hurt at the school because of a playground accident, you can simplify the process of navigating a playground accident claim at Ethen Ostroff Law. We will help you get access to the top lawyers that will increase your chances of a successful playground injuries lawsuit.

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