Who’s Liable When a Child Is Seriously Injured on a Trampoline?
Summer is the perfect time to break out the trampoline for fun and exercise. It’s probably no surprise that when kids jump on trampolines, minor injuries like bruises and cuts can occur. Usually these injuries heal quickly and easily, and the child is back on the trampoline the next day. But what about when they are seriously injured on the trampoline? Although jumping on a trampoline can be fun, it requires caution.
What Serious Injuries Can Occur?
Some parents of children injured on trampolines say they didn’t realize how dangerous trampolines can be. It turns out about 200,000 injuries to children under 16 occur from trampolines each year, according to the Foundations for Spinal Cord Injury Prevention, Care & Cure. Most of those injuries happen because more than one person is jumping on a trampoline. Another way that children can get injured on trampolines is from bad landings. Whether they land on their feet, head, the springs, or on the ground, serious damage can be done to their bodies.
The first step of trampoline safety is to be aware of what could happen when they are not used with caution. They can cause all kinds of injuries. On the more serious end, these could include:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Joint dislocation
- Broken neck
- Spinal cord damage
On the most extreme end, an injury could lead to paralysis or death. It’s important to get checked by a doctor right away if you suspect your child has suffered a minor injury. But if you suspect your child has a serious injury, like a broken neck or damaged spinal cord, you call an ambulance immediately and make sure your child does not move. Any movement could cause further damage, so leave serious injuries to medical professionals.
If there was a defect in the trampoline that caused the serious injury to occur, the manufacturer of the product could be liable. For example, if the mat part of the trampoline ripped and caused your child to fall, that is the fault of the manufacturer. You could file a claim based on product liability because they did not properly inspect the mat or did not make a mat to proper quality standards.
In a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 66% of trampoline injuries occur on at-home trampolines as opposed to trampoline parks. The owner of the trampoline could be liable for your child’s injury if they did not assemble the trampoline correctly, offer the proper protection, or if they allowed children on the trampoline unsupervised. In that case, you would file a personal injury claim against the owner. As a precaution, a trampoline owner should purchase an addition to their homeowner’s insurance policy to cover trampoline injuries.
Trampoline parks have become a trend in recent years. Although the study from NCBI revealed at-home trampolines to be more dangerous overall, trampoline parks usually cause more serious injuries. Most of these places make you sign a waiver for children under 18 before jumping. This makes legal action hard to pursue. But that doesn’t mean they’re completely off the hook if an employee’s negligence caused an accident. If your child was seriously injured at a trampoline park, you should still talk to a lawyer to see what your legal options are.
How Can This Be Prevented?
As a parent, the possibility of serious injury may scare you to the point that you never want to let your child on a trampoline again. But there are ways to make trampolines safer while still keeping all of the fun intact! You can’t completely prevent accidents from happening, there are steps you can take to make trampoline use as safe as possible:
- One jumper on at a time
- If more than one jumper, make sure they are about the same size
- Trampoline is on level ground and away from trees
- Proper protection over springs
- No double bouncing
- Properly installed safety net
- Supervise jumpers at all times
- No jumpers under 6 years old
If negligence led to your child being seriously injured on a trampoline in Philadelphia, you could have a case on your hands. Whether it was a property owner or product manufacturer, the negligent party should be held responsible for their actions. At Shrager & Sachs, we believe in standing up for what’s right. Contact us today so we can review your case and help you do the same.