Playgrounds should be filled with the sounds of childhood glee, laughter and chatter that warm the heart, not cries of pain. Most playground injuries can be fixed with a bandage, perhaps some ice, and a loving kiss. However, some playground injuries are much more serious and playground deaths are an unfortunate reality. Serious playground accidents are often the result of a negligent or wrongful act from selling faulty equipment to constructing an unduly dangerous play area to failing to supervise children at play. When such injuries occur on a Northwest Florida playground, our Panama City child injury law firm has the knowledge and experience necessary to help parents fight for their child's rights.
The swing is an iconic piece of playground equipment. Currently, IKEA is recalling a home version because of a fall hazard. Per the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's ("CPSC") website, the Gunggung model has a seat of green polyester fabric attached to a plastic suspension fitting and steel hanging hooks. It was marketed for either indoor or outdoor use by children ages 3 to 7.
According to the CPSC, IKEA issued the recall because "[t]he suspension fittings can break causing a child to fall from the swing, posing a risk of serious injury." There have been four reports of Gunggung fittings breaking during use, including an incident where the child fell and fractured a leg. The resulting recall involves approximately 2,000 swings in the United States and 300 in Canada. Gunggung owners should take the swing down immediately to prevent use and may return the swing to any IKEA store for a full refund.
According to a Fact Sheet on Playground Injuries authored by the Centers for Disease Control, every year more than 200,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for playground-related injuries. Public playgrounds see approximately 75% of non-fatal playground equipment injuries, with schools and daycares seeing most of those incidents. Severe fractures, dislocations, amputations, concussions, and internal injuries account for 45% of playground injuries. Climbers are linked to more public playground injuries than any other equipment while swings hold that position for home facilities.
Playground deaths are a tragic reality. Between 1990 and 2000 there were 147 child deaths tied to playground injuries. Strangulations accounted for 82 (56%) deaths and 31 (20%) children perished due to falls to the playground surface. Home playgrounds accounted for 70% of the child playground fatalities.
When a child is seriously hurt, parents want (and are entitled to) answers. Legal representation can help uncover answers and force accountability. There are a number of different forms of legal liability that may apply. Product liability law applies when the injury is due to faulty equipment. Premises liability law may apply when unduly dangerous conditions existed, such as where builders opted for an unduly dangerous (and, perhaps, cheaper) playground surface that made a fall more serious than it would have been on a safer surface. Negligent supervision principles may also apply. In some cases, it may be necessary for a claim to address sovereign immunity issues and/or comply with detailed rules for suits against government-related entities (i.e. public schools).
It is important to note that we are not talking about lawsuits for everyday childhood stumbles. Our ethical duties require that we only represent plaintiffs where we truly believe a legal wrong existed. Clients in these cases are fighting for children who were seriously and wrongfully injured. Often these children are facing lifelong consequences because an adult (or adult-run entity) made a careless, negligent, or downright wrongful decision. Child injuries can have major economic consequences, not to mention the emotional trauma. A civil claim can provide needed money for the injured or the grieving. Civil claims linked to child injuries can also make all children safer by forcing changes that prevent future harm.
Call our Panama City playground injury law firm if your child was injured on a Northwest Florida playground because adults made dangerous choices.
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