When parents take their children out for a fun afternoon at the trampoline park, they don’t expect to leave in an ambulance. Yet, that’s how these trips have ended for hundreds of South Florida parents and children in the last two years. These parks put jumpers at serious risk of injury, ranging from minor sprains and scrapes to breaks that take months to heal.
News investigators looked into 911 calls placed from indoor trampoline parks over the last two years. During that time, there were nearly 300 calls and over 70 reports that resulted in paramedics being sent to parks. The American Academy of Pediatrics has spoken out about the risks of indoor trampoline parks, noting a ten-fold jump in reported injuries since 2006.
A number of groups have rigorously studied these incidents, looking for common themes and possible ways to prevent injuries. One issue is limited or inconsistent supervision. At indoor trampoline parks across South Florida, prominently placed signs tell patrons to avoid double-jumping, jump only in the center of the trampoline, and follow other safety protocols. Unfortunately, these rules are rarely followed and enforced. At Off the Wall, a trampoline park involved in a recent lawsuit, reporters observed jumpers performing dangerous stunts and multiple flips without being reprimanded by park staff.
Parental supervision is another crucial factor. While these facilities do have paid staff members, there often aren’t enough staff members to offer full supervision on a busy day. Parks encourage parents to observe their children at all times and enforce posted rules.
Even if a child’s injury occurs due to a park’s negligence, parents often believe that they are unable to sue the park. This is due to the waiver that parents are required to sign before their children jump. This waiver absolves the trampoline park of responsibility if a participant is injured or killed. Further, it requires the guardian to pay the company’s legal costs if the guardian decides to file a lawsuit.
It’s important to note, however, that a waiver like this cannot legally free parks and their operators from the consequences of their action or inaction. If the park was truly negligent, a lawsuit may still be successful. In some cases, staff members at trampoline parks are fairly lax about the waivers that guardians are required to sign. In one instance, a reporter brought a teenager to a park. Even after the reporter told staff that they were not the teenager’s parent or guardian, they were told to sign the waiver. A person who is not a child’s parent or guardian could make the waiver null and void.
If you or someone you love has been injured at a trampoline park or during another activity, it’s important to find out who’s responsible and hold them accountable. Contact the team at Fetterman & Associates to schedule your free case evaluation. Call our West Palm Beach office at (561) 845-2510.
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