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Who is liable if your child suffers a playground injury?

New Jersey kids often spend hours a week on school, park and other playgrounds. Whether they're being supervised by parents, teachers or other adults, the risk of injury is still there. Few kids make it out of childhood without at least one injury, and perhaps a serious one. Over 200,000 kids suffer some type of playground injury each year.

How do you know whether a child's injury was an unavoidable consequence of play or one that was the fault of a playground equipment manufacturer or those responsible for the playground itself? A personal injury attorney can help determine whether you have grounds for a civil lawsuit, and if so, who can and should be held liable.

Depending on the cause of the injury, you may be able to sue the equipment manufacturer, the playground owner and/or contractors involved in building the playground. If the playground is owned by a government entity like a city or county, that can be a more complicated case to bring because they can have immunity from lawsuits.

Grounds for lawsuits can include a product defect and negligence. A product defect suit requires the plaintiff to show that the equipment on which the injury occurred, assuming that your child was using it in the proper manner, was not designed or assembled properly. A negligence lawsuit may be possible if the people or entities responsible for maintaining the equipment were negligent in doing so, making the equipment unsafe.

The National Playground Safety Institute lists some of the most common causes of playground injuries. These include:

-- Tripping hazards

-- Entanglement and protrusion hazards

-- Inadequate fall zones and improper protective surfaces

-- Insufficient spacing between pieces of equipment

-- Entrapment dangers

If you're accompanying your child to a playground, it's a good idea to look out for all of these potential dangers before your child gets on the equipment. However, not all are visible. Further, you're not always the one supervising your child.

If your child is injured on a playground and you believe that the injury was the result of a defect or negligence, a New Jersey personal injury attorney can offer guidance on what your legal options are.

Source: FindLaw, "Playground Injuries: Can I Sue?," Le Trinh, Esq., accessed Sep. 28, 2015

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