The New York City Department of Parks and Recreations oversees more than 1,000 playgrounds across the five boroughs. This doesn’t include playgrounds at daycare centers and at public schools, where 75 percent of injuries occur, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
Keeping the kids we love safe from injury is a top priority for parents, friends, and other family members. Playground accidents might result in severe injuries that will affect children the rest of their lives. Whether a child who you love has been injured on a public or private playground, you should know your rights. This guide offers information about types of playground accidents and injuries, the parties who may be at fault, and steps you should take if your child suffers an injury on a playground.
Common Playground Accidents
Active children are prone to the occasional accident and/or injury, especially on a playground where they run around and play with their friends. Bumps and bruises from small accidents don’t typically require legal action, but other types of accidents that result from negligence and lead to more serious injuries need the guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Here are some examples of common playground accidents that could lead to legal action:
- Falls from height. Unsupervised or poorly supervised children might climb on top of large playground equipment and fall. The CDC reports that climbing features are responsible for the most injuries on public playgrounds, but children might also fall from swings, slides, monkey bars, and other equipment.
- Trip and falls. Children might slip or trip and fall over tree roots, holes, or any other hazard that might be on a playground.
- Defective playground equipment injuries. Some playground equipment has design or manufacturing defects that cause injury to children. Many times companies and parks don’t know about these defects until after someone gets hurt. Examples include exposed metal pieces that may cut a child or moving parts that might crush fingers or small limbs.
Types of Playground Injuries
Children might suffer a wide variety of injuries in a playground accident. The CDC reports that 45 percent of playground-related injuries include the following:
- Broken bones and severe fractures
- Internal organ injuries
Children might also suffer sprains and strains and traumatic brain injuries that are more severe than a concussion.
Liability for a Playground Injury
Determining fault for a playground injury isn’t always easy. It may depend on the location of the playground. The owner of a playground typically has a legal duty to maintain a safe environment for children who use it. But, the owner isn’t necessarily the only party who may have legal liability for a child’s injury. Examples of those parties who might be liable for a child’s playground injury can include:
- Playground supervisors who aren’t adequately supervising children on a school playground.
- Schools, public and private, who have poorly maintained equipment.
- Government entities including the City of New York and appropriate departments who are responsible for maintenance and upkeep.
- Daycare centers who don’t properly supervise children or maintain their equipment.
If your child was injured on a public playground or a playground at a New York City public school, the law requires special procedures to file a lawsuit. You will need to contact an attorney who has familiarity with these rules. Unfortunately, New York City residents are not unfamiliar with holding the city liable for playground accidents. The New York Daily News, with the help of a local TV station, investigated city playgrounds and found the following between 2010 and 2015:
- New York City paid out more than 550 claims for playground-related injuries.
- More than 30 of those claims were over $100,000.
- The NYC Parks Department left 446 work orders on playground equipment open between March 2014 and March 2015.
- Almost 200 of those work orders were labeled “immediate attention.”
Although the Parks Department claims they inspect and repair playgrounds continuously, continued injuries have occurred.
Steps to Take When Your Child Suffers a Playground Injury
When your child is injured on a playground, his or her health and safety must be the top priority. Try to take the following steps as soon as you can after the injury.
- Seek medical attention. If your child has not gone to the hospital in an ambulance, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Head injuries are of special concern because they may not show symptoms right away. Not only do you need a doctor to check out your little one, but this visit provides medical documentation of the accident and injury.
- Talk to witnesses. If you called 911, police most likely responded and filed a report. They may also have witness information. You should try to get information and witness statements from anyone who saw the accident.
- Take photos. Property owners are motivated to make repairs after an injury, so make sure to use your cell phone to take photos or video of the scene of the accident. Include faulty equipment, damage, and anything else they might help your case. You should also take photos of any visible injuries on your child.
- Keep all documents. You will need all medical records and bills for treatment that might include ambulance, hospitalization, specialist visits, and more. Also keep daily records of your child during the healing process. This documentation will help your lawyer build your case.
Contact Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Ivan M. Diamond Today
If a child you love has been injured on a playground, New York law entitles you to seek damages in civil court when that injury results from someone’s negligence or wrongful actions. Concentrate on helping your child through this challenging time and let an experienced personal injury lawyer advocate for your child and help you pursue full and fair compensation. Contact The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond at (718) 588-2000 for a free consultation to discuss your child’s accident and injuries and learn the best path forward for you and your family.