Yes. Local governments are generally obligated to keep public playgrounds free from defects and reasonable dangers on property, and can be held liable for any resulting injury to children. This obligation is considerably strict, due to the fact that playgrounds are targeted primarily towards infants and young children.
If landscaping, such as trees, are located on a city playground, they likely belong to the city and should be maintained by the city. Any tree or public city property that injured a child while the child is on the public playground would make the city liable for the injuries since the child was injured on a city-maintained playground.
To bring suit to recover for a playground injury based on a premises liability theory, you must show that:
No. While obligated to keep playgrounds safe, this does not usually require hiring guards or supervisors to oversee children at play. However, if a local government decides to hire guards anyway, then having guards becomes an additional obligation. In other words, if a child gets injured due to lack of supervision, the local government can be liable even though providing guards in the first place was voluntary.
In order to avoid liability, local government must ensure that the following conditions are met when operating a public playground:
A local government can still be held liable, as long as use of the playground played a significant role in the injury. For example, suppose city X has a supervised playground, but the assigned supervisor for the day fails to show up. Now assume child Y is using one of the swings, when child Z decides to pull on the swing's chain, causing Y to fall and hit their head. Even though Z is at fault for the injury, X is still responsible because of the lack of supervision.
Yes. However, there must be a specific law in place that prevents liability for injuries that occur in public playgrounds. Broad immunity laws usually will not protect local governments from liability. In addition, many playground immunity laws provide exceptions that allow local governments to be sued based on specific causes or circumstances.
If your child has been injured while using a public playground, you should contact a personal injury attorney to learn about any possible legal recourse you may have. A lawyer can inform you about local playground laws in your state or municipality, and determine the strength of your particular case.
Last Modified: 09-30-2016 02:50 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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