Getting hurt on a trampoline does not always mean that someone is at fault. However, when a trampoline accident is caused by the property owner’s negligence or another party, the injured person may be able to file a personal injury claim and recover compensation for damages, including medical bills, pain, and suffering, lost income, etc.
The property owner is not the only one you can file a claim against – you may also be able to file a viable claim against the manufacturer of the trampoline or another person who was using the trampoline with you when the accident took place.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for the Trampoline Accident?
When someone is injured in an accident, the first question that pops into mind is: who was at fault? When the injury is caused on a trampoline, the answer to this question depends on two factors:
- A consideration of everyone who could be responsible for the injury
- An examination of how the injury was sustained
Though a trampoline accident could be the fault of the trampoline user, any one of the below three parties can also be held responsible for the injury:
- The owner of the trampoline
- The manufacturer of the trampoline
- Another person using the trampoline
This is an extremely important distinction because if you pursue the wrong party, it could mean not recovering the compensation you deserve. For example, if the leg of a trampoline break and a child suffers a concussion, it is likely that you will hold the manufacturer responsible for the injury. This might be true if the manufacturer made the trampoline with low quality steel, but it would not be true if it was an accumulation of rust that caused the trampoline leg to break and result in the child’s injury.
It is important to understand exactly how the injury was caused. In most cases, trampoline accidents fit into one of the following scenarios:
- The trampoline had a defect when it left the manufacturer
- The owner of the trampoline did not adequately supervise its use or failure to maintain it properly
- The people using the trampoline failed to use it responsibly
From a legal standpoint, it is beneficial for trampoline owners to take safety precautions for two reasons. First of all, it minimizes the risk of injuries. Secondly, even if an injury occurs, it is more likely that the homeowner will prevail in court because they will be able to argue that they took all of the appropriate safety precautions.
In order to maximize the safety of trampolines, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides the following advice for homeowners as well as parents:
- Make sure that only one person is allowed on the trampoline at a time.
- Do not allow or attempt somersaults on the trampoline.
- Make sure that the trampoline is placed away from trees, structures such as fences, and other play areas.
- Do not use the trampoline without first making sure that its frame, hooks, and springs are completely covered with shock absorbing pads.
- Do not allow children under the age of 6 to use a full-sized trampoline.
- Make sure that a ladder is not used with the trampoline as it provides small children with unsupervised access.
- Make sure that there is always adult supervision when children are using a trampoline.
- Use a trampoline cover to prevent people from falling off of the trampoline.
Liability for a Trampoline Accident
Liability for injuries caused by a trampoline accident is a matter of state laws, and these laws vary from one jurisdiction to another. Generally speaking, however, the owner of the trampoline will be liable for injuries if it was their negligence that caused the trampoline accident and injured someone.
Negligence: In a number of different situations, homeowners and other entities are legally obligated to exercise appropriate care when it comes to people’s safety when visiting their property. If anyone breaches that duty, the law may deem them negligent, and they may be legally liable for any resulting injuries.
In some states, an owner of a trampoline may be liable for injuries even if they take reasonable safety precautions, such as those mentioned above. In such states, a trampoline is considered an “attractive nuisance”, which increases the duty of a property owner to protect children from injury. This is often true, even in cases where children are technically trespassing on the owner’s property.
Causation: In order for a property owner to be liable for injuries caused in a trampoline accident, the injuries must actually be caused by their negligence. For example, imagine an owner leaving a ladder next to a trampoline and a 15-year-old child from one of the homes nearby uses the trampoline and sustains an injury while using it.
It is highly probable that the owner, by leaving the ladder next to the trampoline, acted negligently. But the injury was not actually caused by the negligence.
A 15-year-old can get onto a trampoline without needing to use a ladder. In this case, it could be said that the negligence of the owner is unrelated to the resulting injury, which means that the property owner may not necessarily be liable for the injury. If the 15-year-old used the ladder that they did not need and then left the ladder near the trampoline and then was injured by the ladder when he fell on it when using the trampoline, that is not the owner’s fault or the trampoline’s fault. In addition, if a neighbor child does not have permission to use the trampoline and they use it anyway sustaining an injury, the owner would not be at fault.
When it comes to liability for a trampoline accident, the laws can vary from state to state. If you or your child has been injured in such an accident, you should consult a reliable personal injury lawyer at Fetterman & Associates to find out more about the laws regarding trampoline injuries in your state and how we may be able to help you recover any damages you may be entitled to.