Is My Child's School Responsible for Playground or Jungle Gym Injuries?
Even with improved safety in the manufacture of playground equipment over the decades, it is still the case that hundreds of thousands of children are injured on school playgrounds and jungle gyms every year, with many requiring hospitalization resulting in high medical bills. While certainly not every playground injury should result in a lawsuit, there are times when a school or another party, including the child’s school, may be liable to the child for money damages such as medical bills and pain and suffering.
Accidents Caused by Negligent Supervision
School employees have a duty to exercise reasonable care in supervising children at all times, including when they are on the playground. Of course, school employees cannot prevent all injuries that might occur, but when it can be shown that a child’s injuries were at least partially caused by the failure of school employees to monitor and supervise the children, then both the negligent employee and the school as the employer could be liable for injuries.
A personal injury claim based on a school employee’s inadequate supervision could potentially include a situation where another student intentionally or negligently caused the injury but the employee failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the injury from occurring.
Accidents Caused by Unsafe Conditions
Playground injuries can also occur where there is an unsafe condition, such as sharp metal objects left in the playground, a live electrical wire, or even a defect with the playground equipment itself such as a broken railing that collapses.
In such cases, the school (and/or the school system, city, or county) may be liable for injuries under the theory of premises liability, which holds that owners of the property are liable to injury victims when the injury was caused by an unsafe condition on the property that the employees of the school either knew about and failed to remedy (or failed to prevent children from getting close to the dangerous condition) or should have discovered with reasonable inspection of the property.
If the playground equipment itself was defective, it could also be the case that the manufacturer of the equipment could be liable if the equipment was defectively designed or manufactured (e.g. not securely built).
Accidents Caused by Intentional Acts
Finally, many playground accidents are caused by another child’s intentional acts, such as kicking another child or pushing the child off the equipment. As stated above, those events could form the grounds of a lawsuit against the school if there was inadequate supervision. In addition, the child himself could also be liable and the child’s parents could face liability for their child’s actions, although the amount of damages available in these types of actions are often capped by state law.
Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney for an analysis of what recovery might be available in your particular situation.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in the Inland Empire
At McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP our personal injury team – led by by partner Cory Weck, a Marine Corps officer with over 20 years of service to his country and 15 years of experience litigating personal injury cases – has repeatedly won verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients across the Inland Empire in the millions of dollars. Our attorneys understand that the fear, anxiety, and pain that you and your family are going through following a personal injury, and we are dedicated to doing everything we can to help our clients get the help they need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.