Who is Liable if My Child is Injured at a Public Playground?

July 10, 2021 | Children's Injuries

Injuries can occur anywhere, particularly when there are children involved. This is especially true for playgrounds. However, even though children can get themselves into strange situations that cause injuries, there are times when the careless or negligent actions of others directly cause a child’s injury. Here, we want to discuss who could be held liable if a child is injured at a public playground.

Can You File a Lawsuit Against the Local Government?

Data available from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows us that there are approximately 200,000 children aged 14 and younger treated in the emergency room each year for injuries sustained on playgrounds. 

Around 45% of playground-related injuries involve concussions, dislocated bones, severe fractures, internal injuries, and amputations. 75% of non-fatal playground injuries occur on public playgrounds.

Will you be able to file a lawsuit against any party to recover compensation for your child’s injuries and other losses?

The answer to this is generally going to be, “Yes,” you will be able to recover compensation, but that does not mean that the case will be easy. Generally, we will find that public playgrounds are built and maintained by local municipalities. This can present challenges when it comes to recovering compensation because filing a lawsuit against the government entity in Indiana is different than filing a typical civil personal injury lawsuit.

When we turn to Indiana Code section 34-13-3-8, we can see that this law covers claims against local, county, and other types of municipal governments in Indiana. This law says that in order to file a lawsuit, injury victims have to file a notice with the government body facing the lawsuit as well as the Indiana Political Subdivision Risk Management Commission. These claims must be filed within 180 days from the time the injury occurred, or the claim will be rejected. Please note that this time frame is much shorter than the typical Indiana personal injury statute of limitations.

Because claims against a government entity in the state can become challenging, it is crucial to work with a skilled Indiana personal injury lawyer who can help with every aspect of your case.

Other Parties That Could be Held Liable

Local government agencies are not the only party that could be held liable in the event a playground injury occurs. In addition to municipal governments in control of the playground, the following parties could also be held liable in these cases:

  • The manufacturer of the playground equipment. If a company or manufacturer installs defective equipment that causes injury to a child, this could result in a product liability lawsuit against the company or manufacturer.
  • The contractor who installed the equipment. Contractors who installed the equipment could be held liable if they installed the equipment improperly or failed to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when doing so.
  • Any employees/individuals responsible for watching children. Any individuals charged with supervising children could be held responsible if they neglected their duties and a child was hurt as a result.

Regardless of which party faces liability in these playground injury cases, it is crucial for an attorney to be involved early in the process. It may be the case that multiple parties hold some liability for the incident. An attorney will be able to examine the case, gather evidence, and work on filing the appropriate lawsuits within the required timeframes.