When your child sustains a serious injury while playing on the playground, you may want to bring a lawsuit against the owners to make it safer for other children on top of receiving compensation. However, only a successful personal injury lawsuit can force improvements to a public or private playground. Use these four tips to prepare for your day in court.
Look for Fall Cushioning
Pay for independent investigation and ask the inspector to measure the cushioning material under the playground equipment where your child fell. It's not always possible to prevent kids from falling off of equipment, but it is the playground's responsibility to add enough of a soft material to cushion a fall. If the investigator finds less than 12 inches of mulch or rubber chips, this can demonstrate negligence on the part of the owners or maintenance team.
Research Other Complaints
Dangerous playground equipment and conditions usually lead to multiple children getting hurt before the problems are discovered and fixed. Look up the name and manufacturer of the equipment that injured your child to see if other parents have sued the manufacturer. Check local news reports for similar complaints against the particular playground, and consider uniting with other parents to create a larger lawsuit with more investigatory resources.
Request Maintenance Records
When trying to win any kind of personal injury lawsuit, you generally need to prove liability by finding examples of negligence. This is best done by examining how the playground equipment was maintained and replaced on a regular schedule. Rusty and sharp edges, broken swing chains, and exposed hinges can all be traced back to a failure on someone's part to keep the area safe for kids of all ages. If the playground operators can't produce any maintenance records, that fact alone can decide the outcome of the case.
Determine Private vs Public Status
Finally, determine who owns and operates the playground before starting your lawsuit. The play areas on school and public park grounds are also open to liability claims, but government agency tort restrictions often limit the window of opportunity for filing a claim to just 30 or 60 days. You have a much wider window of time for bringing a case against a private playground.
Talk with a personal injury lawyer like Wolfley & Wolfley, P.S. before deciding if you want to pursue a lawsuit or not. They may recommend an alternative settlement idea that saves you both time and money while covering your child's medical expenses.