Are Schools Responsible for Dangerous Playground Equipment?
As schools begin to reopen and children head back to school, parents hope that they will be safe and healthy. Unfortunately, you cannot always keep a watchful eye out for them, especially on playgrounds. If a serious accident occurs, you may be wondering who is to blame. A school district may argue that child injuries are common at playgrounds, but there are situations where the school may be responsible for your child’s injuries.
School Closures May Contribute to Defective Equipment
Playgrounds can be safe places for children to exercise and play when properly maintained. While manufacturers have a duty to make sure their equipment is safe for children, property owners must also follow all instructions when installing playground equipment, regularly inspect equipment for safety hazards or defective parts, and repair or replace defective equipment. With the closures of many schools from 2020 to 2021, some playground equipment may have fallen into disrepair due to a lack of regular inspections. As a result, there is a risk of playground accidents increasing as schools reopen.
The City of Phoenix notes that proper supervision can also help prevent playground accidents and has created a playground safety guide for how parents can spot dangerous equipment. This guide is not only useful for parents, however, and schools should also:
- Check fall zones for cushioned surfaces
- Make sure ladders, bars, and handrails are secure
- Only place two swings in a single frame and should be at least two feet apart
- Ensure swing fall zones are twice the height of the swing’s length
- Inspect slides for drainage holes and good trackage
Types of Playground Accidents
There are several ways that a school can cause a child’s injuries while using playground equipment, including:
- Failing to properly install equipment according to manufacturer instructions
- Placing playground equipment too close to each other
- Placing hard material in fall zones
- Failing to install guard rails
- Leaving too much space between rungs or bars, leading to entrapments
- Failing to remove rusted or sharp edges
Is a School Responsible for My Child’s Injuries?
A school can be found liable for a playground accident if an employer or administrator was aware of a safety hazard, or reasonably was aware of the hazard, and failed to properly repair the issue before a child was injured. In addition, if the school failed to warn parents and children of the danger and did not take steps to keep children away from the equipment, it can also be found liable for a playground accident.
If your child was injured due to a school’s negligence, then you may be able to recover compensation in a government tort claim. Government tort claims have strict guidelines and deadlines, which is why you should only trust you case to an experienced attorney. The Husband and Wife Law Team has experience holding government agencies liable for accidents and can use our legal expertise to advocate for your best interests. A Phoenix premises liability attorney can walk you through the process of getting compensation in a free consultation. Do not hesitate to call the Husband and Wife Law Team at (602) 267-1280 to learn about your rights as a parent.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
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