Phoenix Playground Accident Lawyers
Whether your child is playing at recess or a nearby park, you assume that all playground equipment is safe and free of dangers. Children are prone to collecting bruises and scrapes on the playground, but they can also suffer serious injuries when playing on dangerous equipment like swings, teeter-totters, and see-saws. If poorly designed, broken, or improperly installed, a piece of playground equipment can cause a serious accident.
Parents should be able to trust school districts, park officials, and product manufacturers to protect children from danger, but when they fail through an act of negligence, they should be held accountable. If your child was injured in a playground accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim on their behalf to recover compensation. The Husband & Wife Law Team can provide the strong legal guidance you need during this difficult time. Contact us today at (602) 457-6222 to get a free case evaluation with a Phoenix playground accident attorney.
Playground equipment is designed to allow kids to have fun, get some exercise, and burn off some extra energy. However, there are several hidden dangers that can cause serious child injuries if poorly designed or installed.
For one, playground equipment may sit outside for years, facing the full strength of Phoenix’s weather. Over time, parts may break down, rust, or jam. Not only can this cause serious cuts and infections, but a piece of equipment might fall apart while a child is using it. For example, if a swing’s chains become cracked while a child is on it, they may fall at least 10 feet and sustain multiple broken bones, a spinal cord injury, or brain damage.
Playground equipment also has dangerous pinch points where heavy and strong pieces of equipment connect together and move. If manufacturers do not use guards or design the equipment properly, it possible for a child to get caught in a pinch point and suffer severe crush injuries.
Other ways playground equipment can cause catastrophic injuries include:
- Being placed too close to each other
- Having hard surfaces near fall zones
- Defective matting which can cause burns during high temperatures
- Tripping hazards
- Sharp edges
- A lack of guard rails or broken rails
- Too much space between bars, rungs, nets, and rails, which can cause entrapments
- Age-inappropriate playground equipment at daycares or schools
A playground accident can cause serious trauma, ranging from broken bones to spinal cord injuries to brain damage. Treating these injuries could easily deplete your savings and leave you in deep medical debt, but if another party caused your child’s injuries, you may be able to recover compensation in a personal injury claim. This process requires determining who had a duty to protect your child from harm and if they acted negligently.
With playground accidents, liability can rest on either product manufacturers or property owners, such as school districts or park managers.
Product manufacturers are required to develop safe, age-appropriate equipment for homeowners, schools, and parks. Manufacturing a piece of equipment that is defective or unsafe for children can result in serious injuries and make them liable after an accident. Manufacturers must also warn parents, school districts, and park officials of any dangerous components or actions that can contribute to an accident. If a product manufacturer sold a playground equipment with a defective design, they can be held accountable in a product liability claim.
In turn, property owners are expected to follow all safety procedures when installing new playground equipment and must regularly inspect and maintain them to prevent serious injuries. If a school or park official is aware that a device is defective, they should block it off until it can be repaired. Property owners can also be found liable if they should have been aware of the danger, such as regularly inspecting the park or play area for defects. Allowing a child to use defective or broken playground equipment can make a property owner liable in a premises liability claim.
The process of recovering compensation for a child differs from filing a claim for an adult. Normally, accident victims only have up to two years to file an injury claim against a negligent party, but this rule is different for children. The statute of limitations for children is extended until two years after they turn 18 years old, giving your child until their 20th birthday to file a claim. However, parents should still talk to an attorney as soon as possible to ensure evidence does not spoil or go missing. This extension also does not apply to government agencies, which require notice of a claim within 180 days of an injury.
Another important aspect of a claim is the requirement to assign a guardian ad litem. Children cannot file injury claims on their own or agree to settlement offers, which is why courts require an adult be named a guardian ad litem to represent a child. Either parent can act as guardian at litem, as well as a grandparent, adult sibling, or other responsible adult.
Lastly, compensation for child injury claims is distributed differently than other claims. After a claim is finalized, any settlement or jury verdict must be approved by a judge to ensure it is fair for the child. Once approved, compensation will be distributed to eligible parties.
First, all medical liens to hospitals and doctors will be covered. Then your attorney will receive their payment according to their contingency fee, which ensures that you do not have to pay any upfront fees during a claim and that your attorney only gets paid if you win. After that, you will receive compensation for any out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical treatment and lost wages from taking time off work to take care of your child.
Lastly, any remaining funds for your child will be placed in a trust until they turn 18 years old. This trust will accrue interest and can only be accessed with court-approval. This ensures that your child receives proper compensation for all pain and suffering they have experienced due to the playground accident.
The process of recovering compensation for a playground accident requires the skills and expertise of a dedicated Phoenix personal injury attorney. We at The Husband & Wife Law Team are parents ourselves and understand how distressing it is to see your child injured. We bring compassion and patience to every case. We will take the time to sit down with you and your family in a free consultation to talk about what happened. Then, if you choose to hire us, we will use our legal knowledge to investigate your case and advocate for full compensation on your behalf. Call us today at (602) 457-6222 to get started on your case.
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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.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer