Playground Accident Lawyers Morristown NJ
Assisting Clients Injured On a Public Playground in Morristown, Newton, and across Morris County, Sussex County, and Northern New Jersey
It’s a beautiful day, a refreshing seventy degrees, and you have off from work. You pack lunches and decide to take the children to the park for a much-anticipated play date. Perhaps one child decides to climb on the monkey bars and to your shock, falls, breaking her arm. What started out as a fun day at the playground, turned into a costly trip to the emergency room. Your child is not alone as accidents and injuries are common at playgrounds and parks and it may not be your child’s fault.
The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff, PA our New Jersey playground injury lawyers take pride in standing up and providing a voice for the ones who cannot stand up for themselves: injured children. If your child has been injured playground in a public place or school you can be confident that our personal injury attorneys will take over your case and work hard towards getting compensation for your child. Contact us today at (973) 520-0525 or you can also contact us online to schedule an appointment.
Playground Injuries in Morristown and Newton NJ
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that injuries regularly occur at playgrounds and the children most at risk are those under the age of 14. Disturbingly, over 20,000 of these injured children are found to have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Two-thirds of all cases resulting in traumatic brain injuries from playground accidents occur as a result of monkey bars, swings or climbing equipment and they occur at school or places related to recreation. A public entity such as a town or school can be held liable in certain instances for the injuries sustained while on the property.
Claims Against Landowners for Playground Injuries
New Jersey recognizes that landowners, including public entities, can be responsible for injuries that occurred as a result of the owner’s negligence in caring for their properties. The statute or law that applies to public entities, N.J.S.A. 59:4-2, provides that if an injury is caused by a condition of the property of the public entity, and the condition of the property caused the property to be in dangerous condition at the time of the injury, then the injured person may be entitled to recovery. The injured person would have to prove that the injury was the proximate result of the dangerous condition of the property and that the dangerous condition created a foreseeable risk of injury. This may be more easily explained by way of a hypothetical scenario.
Say for example that your child, much to your dismay, decides to climb on the old, rusty, overly used monkey bars. All of the other children are playing and everything appears to be alright, so you let your child climb the bars as well. Perhaps you are making small talk with another parent when you hear the dreadful cry of your child who is now on the ground, bleeding, and holding his arm.
As you approach to determine the severity of the injury, you notice that the monkey bar is broken where you noticed the rust, and you also see that next to your child is a large rock embedded in the ground, visible from where you are standing. After a quick assessment you make the correct decision and head to the emergency room where your child is eventually treated for a broken arm from trying to break the fall, and a traumatic brain injury from hitting his head on the rock. In this situation, you may have a good claim against the park for the injuries sustained.
Public Entity Negligence Causes Injury to Child
The reason that the claim may be upheld by a court is that your child was using the equipment the way it was reasonably expected to be used and, that the public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition, that a public employee failed to act in some way or was negligent, and the injury could have been avoided had the dangerous condition not existed. In the example above, it was clear that the monkey bars were old and visibly rusty.
A careful inspection by the town worker could have led him to discover that the bar was rusted out and needed to be replaced and, further, if the bar had been replaced, the child would not have fallen. Additionally, in that example, the large rock in the ground under the bars was visible and the owner of the property would have been on notice that the rock, which was a dangerous condition, could have injured anyone who used the monkey bars.
Dangerous Conditions Pose Risk of Injury on Playgrounds
A dangerous condition, as defined by law, refers to the physical condition of the property itself and not to activities on the property. Basically, if your child was using the equipment as intended and was injured due to the rusted out monkey bars and the rock, it could be deemed a physically dangerous condition of the property. The CDC reports that playgrounds that are well maintained pose fewer risks to children and thus fewer injuries as a result of the equipment which is why inspections are important.
Injury Attorneys Tips on How to Keep Your Children Safe on the Playground
While the park has an obligation to do things to assist in your child’s safety, there are things that parents can do as well. According to the CDC, parents can help by:
- Checking the playground to ensure that there is soft material under the equipment such as wood chips, sand, or mulch;
- Reading signs and using playground equipment that is right for your child’s age (some signs display which equipment is age appropriate for your child);
- Making sure guardrails are in good condition to help prevent falls;
- Looking for things that can trip your child, like tree stumps or rocks.
Similarly, park owners can also make sure that the playground is safe by doing the same type of inspection that you would do. Moreover, the owner or park workers can make sure that the equipment itself is safe and that the guard rails are sturdy, that there is soft material under the equipment, and that objects such as stumps or rocks are removed.
Contact a Newton NJ Playground Accident Attorney Today
If your child was injured and you believe it would not have occurred without the negligence of the property owner, call our office today for a consultation. We are a personalized, boutique injury law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options. Your child may be entitled to recovery for his or her injuries.