Faulty Playground Equipment at School: Who’s Liable?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 200,000 kids are injured on playgrounds each year. About half of those injuries are serious, including bone fractures, internal injuries, and concussions, and 67 percent involved falls or equipment failures.

So who is responsible if your child is injured at school because of faulty or unsafe playground equipment? Here are a few considerations:

Equipment Malfunctions

With so many playgrounds and pieces of equipment, there are bound to be a few accidents due to defects with the equipment itself. If playground equipment is poorly designed or malfunctions, the manufacturer could be held liable under product liability law.

Playground equipment manufacturers have a duty to ensure their products are safe. As such, they can be strictly liable if a person is injured by their product. There are three main types of product liability claims:

  • Defects in Design: The playground equipment’s design is flawed in a way that renders it unreasonably dangerous to children.
  • Defects in Manufacturing: The equipment is improperly manufactured in a way that dangerously departs from the intended design.
  • Defects in Warnings: The equipment lacks adequate instructions or warnings, the omission of which renders the product not reasonably safe.

A piece of playground equipment could be improperly designed, poorly manufactured, or lack proper warnings, leading to dangerous or deadly accidents. If this happens, the manufacturer could be liable for any injuries or damages.

School Liability

On the other hand, if the school failed to properly maintain the playground equipment, you could have a premises liability claim against the school. But suing a government entity is much more complex than suing a private party.

Filing an injury claim against the government normally requires filing a notice of claim first, so that the government entity is on notice that an injury has occurred. It also gives the school the opportunity to accept and pay the claim before going to court. If your claim is denied, you can then sue the school in court.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help evaluate your case and file a claim if your child has been injured by faulty playground equipment at school.

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