Playground & School Injuries Attorney in Dothan, AL
When we send our children to school or to a daycare center, we expect that those who supervise them and those responsible for maintaining the grounds in which they play on will do everything possible to ensure that they are safe. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Some playgrounds do not meet minimum safety standards and they often contain hazards that put children at risk. There are also times when workers do not watch the children carefully enough. When a child at a school or playground is injured because of the negligence or reckless actions of another party, they deserve to be compensated.
At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we have several years of experience representing clients with playground and school injury cases in Alabama. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of personal injury law, and we have a successful track record with even the most complex cases. We understand that when your child suffers an injury that was caused by someone else, you want to ensure that the other party is held fully responsible. We work closely with our clients, putting our in-depth experience to work to thoroughly investigate their case and explore every potential legal avenue toward obtaining full and fair compensation.
Playground Injuries Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 200,000 children under the age of 14 are injured in playground accidents in the United States each year. The majority of these injuries (55%) are sustained by girls, and kids between the ages of 5 and 9 have the highest rates of emergency room visits for playground-related incidents.
The CDC points to a wide range of injuries that occur in schools and on playgrounds:
• Slip and fall injuries;
• Being struck by loose objects or debris;
• Illness due to exposure to toxic substances;
• Scrapes, cuts, and bruises;
• Severe fractures;
• Internal injuries;
• Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
Children on daycare center and school playgrounds are exposed to numerous hazards on a regular basis that can result in serious injury. Some of the most common causes of playground and school injuries include:
• Negligent Supervision: Children are supposed to be properly supervised at all times, including when they are inside the classroom, walking down the halls between classes, and out on the playground at recess and during lunch. However, many schools and daycare facilities are short-staffed or do not have adequate staff to safely monitor the kids.
• Assault by Staff or Other Kids: Sadly, negligence is not the only potential cause of playground and school injuries by staff members. Some resort to physically and even psychologically abusive tactics to try to keep the children in line. Another similar problem is kids being assaulted by other kids, which often stems from the lack of proper supervision we discussed in the previous point.
• Defective Playground Equipment: Some daycare and school playground equipment is dangerous for children. For example, it might contain sharp edges, pinch points, or be too high for the age of the kids climbing on it. The CDC says that more injuries occur on climbers than on any other type of playground equipment.
• Outdated or Poorly Maintained Playground Equipment: Repeated use over a number of years can cause playground equipment to become dilapidated and dangerous. Some schools and daycare facilities do not want to invest in maintaining and upgrading this equipment, which needlessly exposes our children to various hazards.
• Dangerous Surfaces: Cracked pavement, wet and slippery surfaces, uneven surfaces, and similar hazards can result in slip, trip, and fall injuries. The school or daycare facility is responsible for taking reasonable steps to keep their grounds safe and free of these types of hazards. And when they exist, they should post proper warnings/signage and/or cordon off areas where it is not safe for children to play.
Pursuing a Playground Injury Claim in Alabama
Playground and school injury cases are far more complicated than a typical personal injury claim. There are multiple potential parties that may be at fault for the accident that caused the injury, and because this may involve a claim against a government entity (e.g., a public school), there are special rules and procedures that must be followed. For this reason, it is essential to work with an attorney with specific experience successfully handling these types of cases.
Determining who is responsible for a child being injured in school are on a playground depends on where and how the accident occurred and other specific circumstances in the case. Possible parties that may be responsible include:
• The property owner or manager (e.g., the school, daycare center or whoever owns or manages the playground);
• The playground equipment designer, manufacturer, supplier, or distributor;
• The person or persons responsible for supervising the child on the playground;
• The parents of the child who caused the injury to your child.
Proving a playground injury claim can be difficult, especially if you did not witness the incident. If your child was seriously hurt at school or on the playground, it is important to take immediate steps to help preserve your legal right to compensation.
Here are some steps you should take immediately after the accident:
• Seek prompt medical attention: If your child was not brought to the hospital or emergency room right after the playground accident, take them to see a medical professional as soon as possible, preferably the same day. The longer you delay treatment, the more difficult it will be to establish a legal connection between the accident and your child’s injuries.
• Take photos and videos of the accident scene: Visual evidence is among the most valuable ways to prove an accident injury claim. Take multiple photographs of the accident scene right away, hopefully before those in charge of the property have a chance to repair the hazardous condition that caused the accident. In addition, take pictures of your child’s injury.
• Obtain witness statements: If any individuals witnessed what happened (preferably adults), be sure to obtain statements from them as well as their contact information. Many people will willingly record a video statement using your smartphone to describe an incident. Do this right away while the events are fresh in their minds.
• Retain strong legal counsel: The success or failure of your case depends heavily on the steps you take immediately after the accident. One of the most important will be getting an experienced personal injury lawyer involved as early as possible, so a thorough investigation can be conducted, and critical evidence can be preserved.
Contact a Knowledgeable and Compassionate Alabama Playground and School Injuries Attorney
If your child was injured at a school or playground and another party was at fault, do not allow the other side to intimidate or bully you into settling for less than what your child deserves. At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we are committed to fighting hard for your right to recover just compensation for your child’s injuries. Call our office today at 334-699-5599 to schedule a free consultation. You may also message us through our web contact form.