The manufacturers and sellers of trampolines have been held liable for injuries to users. Cases involving injuries that people have sustained on trampolines mainly focus on the adequacy of instructions for use and warnings about risks.
Whether or not an injured person is able to recover always depends on the particular circumstances surrounding the injury. Factors which courts often consider include the following:
- Whether the manufacturer and distributor provided any warnings about the risks of trampoline use;
- Whether the manufacturer and distributor provided instructions for using the trampoline;
- If warnings and instructions were provided, whether they were adequate;
- The level of knowledge and expertise of the person who was injured; and
- The manner in which the device was being used at the time of the injury;
- Where the injuries occur.
For example, one court found that a manufacturer did not owe a duty to warn of the dangers of jumping on a full-sized trampoline where the injured party was a highly experienced and capable gymnast. However, another court found a trampoline manufacturer liable despite the fact that the user knew her knee had a propensity to lock up but used the trampoline anyways.
Is a Manufacturer or Seller Liable for Defects Which Cause Injuries?
The manufacturer of a product that is defective may be liable if the defect is the direct cause of injury to a person who uses the product. Distributors, e.g., retail sellers, of defective products are liable for the injuries caused by the defects as well.
Physical design defects, such as defects that cause the frame bed or suspension system of a trampoline to fail under the stress of normal use, would be a case in which the manufacturer and distributor would be liable. A victim does not have to prove that anyone was negligent in a strict product liability case. Rather, a victim must only show that a product had a defect and it caused them injury.
Additionally, there are a number of other less obvious defects for which injured people can recover damages on the theory of strict product liability. Some of these defects in the design and manufacture of a trampoline include the following:
- Failure to provide the springs with “end protectors;”
- Frame pads that move due to a method of securing them to the frame that is not adequate;
- Improper folding mechanisms on “knockdown” or collapsible units;
- Inadequate attachment of the mat to the frame and the use of black materials in the manufacture of the mat.
It is also important to keep in mind that other parties can be liable also. For example, a trampoline owner who is negligent in their supervision of activity on a trampoline or possibly negligent in the setup or maintenance of a trampoline could potentially be liable for negligence.
One person might be injured by another person who uses the trampoline at the same time and engages in clearly reckless behavior, which results in an accident and injury. This other person may be liable for negligence also.
Product liability laws hold manufacturers responsible when defects in their products cause injury. Failing to disclose the risks of a product can be a defect. Just like the manufacturers of any other product, the manufacturers of trampolines are legally obligated to ensure the safety of users of their product. They are required to issue warnings and instructions for safe use. If any defect causes an injury to a consumer of the product, companies must also issue safety recalls.
Recalls have included the following:
- In 2013, the Sportspower company recalled 120,000 trampolines because they had an injury and fall hazard. The enclosure netting that surrounded the company’s trampolines was prone to break. This allowed children to fall through the netting and suffer injury;
- Stamina Products recalled 668,000 InMotion mini trampolines.
If a person is injured and it can be determined that a defect in the trampoline directly caused the injury, the victim may sue a manufacturer and distributor for an award of damages. Again, a victim might also sue a homeowner who owns the trampoline or even another user for negligence.
To build the strongest case possible, it is critical to preserve evidence and to contact an attorney with considerable experience in product liability and personal injury law. A homeowner’s insurance may or may not cover injuries caused by the homeowner’s trampoline. The policy may well exclude trampoline insurance coverage.
What Are Some Common Types of Trampoline Injuries?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents keep their children away from trampolines. It reports that trampoline use poses a major risk of injury. In addition, there is no reliable way to reduce those risks. Common injuries include:
- Brain Injury;
- Neck & Spinal Injury
- Whiplash and Other Soft Tissue Injuries
- Orthopedic Trauma: These are mostly bone fractures or severe injury to the muscular system;
What Types of Damages Are Available for Trampoline Injuries?
The damages that a person can recover in a civil lawsuit for strict product liability or negligence include reimbursement for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages would reimburse victims for such losses as the following:
- Medical Expenses: Damages would cover the cost of all necessary medical treatment that the injured person requires to return them to good health. This could include doctor visits, stays in the hospital, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any other medical treatment that was required to treat the victim’s injuries;
- Lost Wages: if the victim’s injury and treatment for it leads them to miss work, they should be entitled to reimbursement for lost wages. This would be for past lost wages and wages that the victim can expect to lose in the future. The victim might be unable to resume their previous job or have to switch to a lower-paying position;
- Rehabilitation Costs: An injured victim may need vocational rehabilitation, i.e., job training or retraining, or career counseling, to help them enter or return to the workforce in a position that is different from the one they had before they were injured. They may need to find future employment in a completely new line of work. Economic damages should compensate for the cost of these services;
- Disability Payments: If a victim’s injury leads them to have a permanent or long-term disability, they may be able to obtain disability payments. These payments can be temporary or permanent, depending on the worker’s situation. If their disability is permanent, then the payments would continue permanently.
- If the disability is temporary, then the payments would be temporary as well.
In a civil lawsuit, such as a negligence or product liability case, the victim would also be able to recover non-economic damages to compensate them for their pain and suffering. This also includes other non-physical aspects of their injury or illness.
Punitive damages are a possibility in only very severe cases. For example, a victim who suffers a catastrophic injury because of a defect that the manufacturer knew posed a risk of just such an event might make a case for punitive damages. The victim would argue that the manufacturer’s conduct was intentional or malicious, making an award of punitive damages a possibility.
Should I Contact an Attorney About Trampoline Injuries?
If you or a loved one have been injured on a trampoline, you want to consult a personal injury attorney. LegalMatch.com can connect you to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your case and file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or seller so you can recover damages for your injuries.
Your lawyer would be able to enlist the help of experts who would probably be needed to identify the defect in the trampoline that caused your injury. Your lawyer could represent you in negotiations or in a trial if that should become necessary.