Playground Injury Attorney
Negligent supervision, poorly maintained playgrounds, and defective playground equipment can all be direct contributing factors to the cause of a child’s school injury. Regardless of whether the injury occurred at a school playground or at the public park, if one of the above factors resulted in an injury for your child, you may have a legal cause of action against the responsible party and be able to file a claim. Our child injury lawyers in Gainesville, FL, are readily available to investigate the accident and build a solid case. For instances of a child injured on the playground, contact our Gainesville child injury law firm.
School Playground Injuries
School board staff and faculty are trusted to provide the highest duty of care necessary to prevent an unreasonable risk of injury for students. When an accident on the playground occurs, the most likely parties to be held liable are:
- School faculty and staff
- School district
- Playground equipment manufacturer
- Playground contractor
An experienced child injury attorney will determine the owner of the playground and establish whether the dangerous circumstances that led to the child’s injury were foreseeable. A foreseeable threat to safety may construct the necessary grounds for a premises liability theory claim, which claims that the responsibility to foresee potential injuries was not upheld.
For this claim, it is necessary to understand if the child was expected to be on the playground, if the injury was foreseen, and if carelessness was a major cause of injury. Florida utilizes the SREF (State Requirement for Education Facilities), which guides public school operation, including playgrounds. For example, according to the SREF, schools are required to have a fenced-in “Kindergarten” area that is separate from the area in which older students play. Additionally, this Kindergarten playground must be directly accessible from the child’s classroom.
Any equipment on the playground must be designed and installed into the schoolyard using the guidelines of the Public Playground Safety Handbook. This handbook provides schools with recommendations for safe, age-appropriate playground equipment. Our experienced attorneys apply SREF to structure your case, and adherence to the SREF and/or the Public Playground Safety Handbook is determined through detailed examination led by our child injury attorneys in Gainesville, FL.
Public Vs. Private School
Whether the school in which the injury occurred at was a private or public school is significant to your claim. In Florida, public schools are regarded as a governmental entity and both the school and its employees are protected under sovereign immunity from certain forms of liability. However, if the negligence of the school board or its members are the cause of your child’s injury, the sovereign immunity is thereby waived and the legal hearings may proceed. Private schools don’t have governmental immunity and, therefore, are not provided with any level of immunity. The organization behind the private school would be the target of the injury claim or lawsuit.
Public Playground Injuries
If the injury occurred while using public playground equipment, the company that constructed the equipment may be liable if their product’s function caused the injury. Failure to maintain public playground equipment can also cause serious injury. Equipment may degrade due to age, weather conditions or damages and must be maintained. Determining the entity responsible for maintaining playground equipment is necessary for determining fault or legal liability.
How Is Legal Liability Determined?
Determining whether the injury was foreseen is necessary to file a premises liability lawsuit; this outlines that equipment owners have a responsibility to prevent any foreseen injuries from occurring. For example, a premises liability lawsuit would be justified if a playground manufacturer that failed to implement certain safety measures when designing toys and due to that negligence a child was injured.
Determining the individual or entity that is legally liable and at-fault will be the next aspect of the child injury case. Unfortunately, there are many ways a child can become injured while visiting either a school or public playground. Below are several scenarios of legal liability:
- Defective playground equipment due to failure to maintain by a school or city employee
- Lack of supervision over an injured child by a caretaker, teacher, or school employee
- Defective playground equipment due to a dangerous design created by the manufacturer
- Poor playground design due to inadequate surface or layout by the contractor
Was The Act Intentional Or Negligent?
Another necessary aspect of building a child playground injury case is determining if the act that caused the injury was negligent or intentional in nature. School faculty and staff are legally required to provide a safe environment for children and uphold an acceptable standard of care. Should the child become injured due to the school’s failure to provide a safe environment for the child, the school may be deemed negligent. Alternatively, if your child was at a public park and became injured on a broken slide, the city may be negligent for failing to repair the slide and maintain safe conditions.
What Constitutes An Intentional Act?
An intentional act declares that the injury was purposefully caused. While on the playground, a child may be intentionally injured by another child or by a school employee. The school district can be held liable for the injury if an employee harmed your child and the school failed to provide necessary training, supervision or conduct a background check for the accused employee. In instances of bullying, depending on the exact circumstances and whether the school was aware of the bullying, the parents of the child that caused the injury and/or the school district may be held liable.
What Constitutes A Negligent Act?
Should your child’s school fail to uphold an adequate standard of care and your child becomes injured, then the school is undoubtedly negligent. A negligent act can occur due to poor supervision or a failure to remedy defective playground equipment.
Note that there are many ways in which a school district, individual or entity can be proven negligent, which is why obtaining counsel from an experienced child injury attorney is vital.
Common Playground Injuries
Defects to playground equipment due to design, negligence of deteriorating conditions or improper supervision can result in the occurrence of major injuries and in some instances, even death. Playground injuries include the following:
- Sprains and strains
- Bruises, cuts, and abrasions
- Fractures and broken bones
- Injuries from physical altercations
- Internal organ injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
While playground deaths are fairly uncommon, they do occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children between the ages of 5 and 9 are the most likely age group to suffer playground injuries.
Obtain A Child Injury Lawyer
Playground injury cases are rarely simple. Determining whether the injury was foreseeable, who is legally liable for the injury occurring and the grounds on which the injury occurred requires the counsel of an experienced attorney. Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of your child and advocating on their behalf. Your attorney will assist you throughout all facets of your case, including filing a child injury lawsuit and providing legal representation in a Florida court of law. To speak with a trusted attorney, contact a child injury attorney today.