Kentucky Playground Injury LawyerPlayground Injuries are Not Child’s Play
Kids will be kids. They should be encouraged to play outdoors. Playgrounds can be great places for children to enjoy themselves, but only if they’re properly designed, constructed and maintained. A Kentucky playground can be a place of great fun and great danger. Many of these dangers are preventable, and the injuries they cause are avoidable. If your child has suffered serious injuries at a playground, you may have legal rights to compensation.
Injuries on playgrounds are common occurrences, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which reports these facts:
- Each year in the U.S., hospital emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries.
- About 45% of these injuries are severe, including bone fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations and amputations.
- About 75% of nonfatal injuries caused by playground equipment happen on public playgrounds, mostly at schools and daycare centers.
- From 1990 to 2000, 147 children ages 14 and younger died due to playground-related injuries. Of this group 82 (56%) died from strangulation and 31 (20%) died from falls to the playground surface.
- Most of these deaths (70%) occurred on home playgrounds.
- Playground-related injuries of children ages 14 and younger cost an estimated $1.2 billion in 1995.
- Though all children using playgrounds could be injured, girls sustain injuries (55%) more often than boys (45%).
- Children from ages five to nine have the highest rate of emergency department visits for playground injuries. Most of these injuries happen at school.
- For public playgrounds, the most dangerous equipment is climbing apparatus. For home playgrounds, swings cause the most injuries.
Legal claims against parties who own and/or are responsible for playgrounds due to injuries normally claim negligence. Those responsible for playgrounds have a duty to provide a safe environment and safe equipment. If that duty was not met, it was foreseeable that injuries could happen; and if injuries and damages actually occur, a defendant may owe compensation to injury victims.
There could be any number of reasons why a party could be negligent when an injury on a playground occurred.
- The equipment used does not have a safe design or was assembled or maintained improperly.
- There was no shock-absorbent surface below the equipment.
- Old, obsolete, dangerous equipment was not replaced.
- Past injuries to children were known but needed changes were not taken to prevent future ones.
These problems have real-world consequences, including the serious injuries and deaths of children. When these accidents occur at schools or day care centers, the harm done by dangerous playgrounds can be worsened by the negligent acts of employees who don’t properly respond to the situation.
- A five-year-old girl using a swing in London, England, was killed when one of the tree trunks used to support the swing collapsed on top of her.
- For a seven-year-old Arkansas boy, the problem wasn’t the playground equipment but an unsecured bench at the playground. It fell on top of him, causing severe head injuries.
- A five-year-old Connecticut girl broke her arm on a school playground. Her mother stated the school did not inform her of the injury and only put ice on the arm, which she describes as “dangling” from her daughter’s side.
- The Tucson Unified School District has admitted to negligence in a 2013 playground accident that left a nine-year-old student with a brain injury. He fell about five feet from a slide during recess at an elementary school, hitting the side of his head, arm and wrist on a piece of cement embedded in the play area. His mother states that school officials didn’t seek medical attention for her son; instead, they called her and she took him to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with a broken wrist and life-threatening head and brain injuries. A safety audit showed as many as 80% of that district’s playgrounds had dangerous conditions.
When children play they often suffer minor injuries; but major injuries due to unsafe playgrounds are the responsibility of adults, not children. The fact that a school system or municipality doesn’t properly budget for constructing or maintaining a safe playground, choosing to spend money elsewhere, is not a defense.
Responsible owners need to take the proper steps to ensure a child’s safety in order to prevent injuries, or at least lessen their severity. If these actions are not taken, the negligent parties should be held accountable.
Under Kentucky law, some personal injury actions must be brought within one year, so it’s important that you act without delay if your child was seriously injured on a playground in order to protect your rights to compensation. Call a Lexington, KY Injury Lawyer today at our local number — (859) 233-3641. Or use our toll-free number — 866-77JULIE. If you prefer, you may use our online inquiry form. We will be glad to make a free and confidential evaluation of your case.