When you take your child to school or to the local playground, you have every right to expect that the equipment they play on is safe for use. Unfortunately, injuries involving playground equipment are common throughout the state.
If your child has been hurt because of dangerous or defective playground facilities, it is wise to reach out to a Michigan playground equipment injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. An experienced personal injury attorney could review your case and determine if you have a claim for compensation.
Where Do Playground Injuries Usually Happen?
There are a variety of different locations where a playground injury may arise in Michigan, from apartment buildings and schools to parks and daycares. The location of an accident can impact the potentially liable parties.
The pie chart below shows the distribution of locations that are affiliated with playground injuries in the United States from 2009-2014. More than half of all injuries from playgrounds happen near homes, with restaurants being associated 1 out of every 4 times.
The Frequency of Injuries
While the frequency of playground injuries have gone down since 2012, they are still unfortunately common. In 2014 alone, roughly 234,287 children were injured while on a playground.
The line chart below shows the number of estimated injuries on playgrounds in the United States from 2009-2014. Injuries were on the rise from 2009-2012, increasing by 14% before coming down to almost the same amount in 2009.
Common Factors That Lead to Michigan Playground Equipment Injuries
There are a variety of potential causes of playground equipment injuries, ranging from negligent supervision, poorly kept playgrounds, and improperly constructed playgrounds, to hazardous surfaces, insufficient cushioning under the playground equipment, and defective manufacturing.
A Michigan attorney could help to assess the factors surrounding a playground equipment injury and determine who may be liable. The following are among the most common playground equipment that could lead to significant injuries if a design flaw is present:
- Jungle gyms
- Trapeze rings
- Spring riders
The bar chart below shows the number of injuries for each type of section on a playground from 2009-2014 in the United States. Approximately half of a million injuries from 2009-2014 happened exclusively from the monkey bars which is 34% of all injuries.
What are Common Playground Injuries?
Playground equipment injuries can be devastating and long-lasting, and in some cases, may even result in fatal harm. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emergency rooms process over 200,000 children aged 14 and under on an annual basis for injuries sustained at playgrounds.
Roughly 20 percent of these young patients require treatment for traumatic brain injuries, while approximately 56 percent of injuries sustained at playgrounds involve fractured bones and bruising. Other common playground equipment injuries include broken bones, concussions, strangulation, and back injuries.
The pie chart below shows the breakdown of injuries to different body parts on playgrounds from 2009-2014 in the United States. Most injuries happen to the arm, more than twice as much as any other type of body part. The head, legs, and face are all responsible for approximately half of all injuries that happen on playgrounds.
Establishing Legal Responsibility
To file a viable claim for monetary damages, the plaintiff must be able to prove the legal liability of the party or parties they are requesting compensation from, such as a school, childcare business, playground equipment owner, or childcare worker.
To prove liability in a playground equipment injury case, the plaintiff and their Michigan lawyer must demonstrate that the at-fault individual or entity (such as the playground owner) owed them a duty of care but failed to observe this duty. For example, if the playground owner did not properly maintain the equipment, this would be a breach of duty.
Moreover, the negligent party’s breach of their legal duty must have directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Finally, the plaintiff’s injuries must have incurred damages which can be compensated, such as medical bills and pain and suffering.
When a product defect causes a child to suffer injury on the playground, a case may be filed under the strict liability theory. This means that the plaintiff would only have to demonstrate that there was a defect in the equipment that caused their injury to pursue damages.
Time Limitations on Filing a Lawsuit for Damages
Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.5805 outlines the time limits on filing a personal injury or product liability claim for damages. Under this statute, a claimant in a playground equipment injury case has up to three years from the date of the incident to file suit.
Some exceptions may apply to the statutory deadline. For example, individuals who are injured as minors have up to one year from their 18th birthday to start a civil suit. If the plaintiff did not discover that they were injured right away, the filing period could pause until the date they reasonably could have learned they had sustained harm. A Michigan lawyer could explain this timeline and work to ensure the injured plaintiff files their playground equipment injury case on time.
The bar chart below shows the number of victims in each age group and gender on playgrounds from 2009-2014 in the United States. Males have more injuries than females in all categories except for the 15+ age region. Younger kids are more likely to be injured on playgrounds than older children.
Consult with a Michigan Playground Equipment Injury Attorney
If your child has been injured while on a playground, call a skilled attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. for assistance.
A Michigan playground equipment injury lawyer could advocate for the compensation you deserve at every stage of your case, whether by negotiating a fair out-of-court settlement or fighting for your best interests at trial.
To start working on your case, schedule a free consultation today.
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