Who is Responsible for Faulty Playground Equipment?

When children go out to play, many dangers await. Parents can only do so much in teaching children to be careful, look both ways, don’t talk to strangers, don’t run on the pool deck. But when a child in injured due to an unsafe play structure or play area, there may be grounds for a lawsuit.

In a recent South Florida case, a two-year-old boy was playing on a local playground when he fell and sustained serious injuries. The only witness to the fall was his nanny. The father of the child filed a product liability lawsuit against the company that manufactured the play structure, Bogatov, for not providing adequate handrails, and the local city government of Hollandale Beach for not providing adequate padding on the playground floor.

In order to win this lawsuit, the plaintiff would have to prove that:

  • The child was injured
  • The playground manufacturer was negligent
  • The child’s injuries were a direct result of the company’s negligence

In addition, the plaintiff would have to prove that the city was negligent in making sure the playground was safely padded.

The child’s injuries were never called into question. He suffered a fractured femur and was confined to a wheelchair for several months.

In terms of liability, it was unclear where the child had been immediately prior to the fall. Before the case reached the fourth district court of appeals, Bogatov had moved for dismissal, because the nanny had stated that the child was not actually on the structure when he fell. The father had originally charged that the play structure did not have enough grab handles, and the child’s fall was caused directly by this defect. In later testimony she said the boy was running around when he fell, and the injury was caused by inadequate woodchip padding, which is the responsibility of the city.

The court of appeals reversed the original dismissal, and now both the city and Bogatov are back in the hot seat.

Accidents happen, and sometimes it is impossible to say who is at fault. Then again, sometimes the legal process can bring a negligent person or company to justice for contributing to an accident. If you have been injured by a defective product, we want to know about it. Call an attorney at the West Palm Beach office of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivy & Fronrath. Schedule a free consultation by calling 561-655-1990 or contact us online today.