Playground Injury Claims: Who Pays Compensation?

empty playground
Madeleine Jones
December 2, 2021

When our kids get hurt, sometimes it’s just accidental. However, when they get injured at playgrounds, could it have been avoided? When your child is severely injured in a playground because of someone else’s negligence or because of faulty equipment, you and your child deserve compensation.

Over 200,000 children under 14 years old are treated at emergency rooms for playground injuries in the United States. More than 20,000 of these children have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Children that suffer the most from playground injuries are the ones between the ages of 5 and 12

Related Post: What are personal injury damages

Causes of Playground Accidents

A playground is a wonderful place for kids to burn off excess energy, make new friends, and exercise. Unfortunately, it can also be a dangerous place. The most common playground injuries are the following:

  • Bruises and scrapes
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries and concussions
  • Dislocations
  • Internal injuries

The most common causes of these injuries are:

Lack of Supervision

Most accidents happen at school playgrounds, including daycare centers where children are supposed to be under a teacher or daycare provider’s supervision. 

Daycare providers and teachers can get distracted (see this article to learn more about daycare injuries). If they’re looking after several children, it is very common they take their eyes off one kid to tend to another. Sometimes the person responsible for taking care of your child is looking at their phone or distracted by other things.

Trip and Falls

Some of the most severe and fatal injuries can happen because of falls to the playground surface. Children can fall from climbing equipment, such as monkey bars, over rocks, stumps, or roots.


The most common fatal playground injury is strangulation. Children can sometimes get strangled by jump ropes, dog leashes, swings, drawstrings on clothing, and many more.

Child Injuring Another Child

Sometimes children can be aggressive. Even at a young age, a child can be territorial while on a playground. They can bite, scratch, and push other children from high slides and other equipment.

Dog Bites

Some families bring their dogs with them to public playgrounds. Sometimes, highly energetic kids laughing and playing can cause some dogs to react aggressively or inappropriately. Young children are most commonly attacked by dogs.

Poor Maintenance

Private entities and municipalities are in charge of maintaining playgrounds. Equipment at playgrounds can rot, rust, and splinter over time. Guardrails can also get loose or break.

Faulty Equipment

Children can get injured by faulty equipment at playgrounds. Poor design, lack of maintenance information given by the manufacturer, or manufacturing flaws.

Unsafe Playground Surface

Playgrounds are supposed to have soft material under every piece of equipment, like wood chips, rubber, mulch, or sand. The material has to be evenly distributed and deep enough to cushion a child when they fall.

Your Child’s Injuries and The Law

When your child is injured at a playground, who is responsible? One or more of the following may be liable:

  • Manager or property owner
  • Playground equipment manufacturer
  • The person in charge of supervising your child
  • The parents of the child who hurt yours
  • The owner of the dog that bit your child

All of these parties owe a specific duty of care to your child. This means they have the legal obligation to protect your child from any harm. Generally, the family of the injured child won’t be able to recover compensation for emotional distress. But, when a child suffers from a severe or fatal injury, an attorney can bring a claim for loss of consortium. This means the parent’s loss of their child’s company, affection, and help.

Proving Your Playground Injury Claim

In some cases, when a kid gets hurt there is no one to blame. Accidents happen. However, when someone is to blame for your kid’s injury, the burden is on you and your lawyer to prove it. You must be able to prove the person at fault failed to do what a reasonable person would do, or did something wrong.

You need to collect evidence, such as:

  • Prompt medical attention: if your kid was not directly taken to the hospital from the playground, take them to a doctor as soon as you can. If your regular doctor is not available, go to the emergency room. Make sure you tell the medical provider how, when, and where your child was injured.
  • Pictures and videos: these are invaluable. They can show the dangerous conditions that caused the injuries. A playground manager or owner may rush to repair them, so it’s important you quickly take pictures and videos of the scene. You should also take pictures of your kid’s injuries.
  • Witness statements: recorded or written statements from anyone who saw the incident are important. They can support the cause of your kid’s injury, but also the pain and suffering your kid experienced right away.
  • Emergency responder reports: if your child’s injuries required paramedics, the police will also respond. State clearly what caused the injuries. Point out the unsafe conditions that caused the injuries. You can get the police report within a week online.
  • Proof of damages: documented injuries and damages are what will make your personal injury claim valid. Request a copy of treatment records and medical bills related to the injury. Keep any receipts for out-of-pocket expenses like medications, bandages, etc.

When Your Child Needs a Playground Injury Attorney

If your kid has recovered from a sprain, bruises, scrapes, or small cuts, you can maybe negotiate a small settlement with the insurance company. Daycare centers and private schools will put you in contact with their insurance companies.

Playground Injury Claim Against Government

Most injuries happen at school and parks’ playgrounds, parks, and public schools which are part of your local and state government and can be very difficult to sue on your own. There are short deadlines and rules for filing injury claims against the government. In addition, there are limitations on what you can recover.  If you make a mistake, your claim will be denied.

You will need a lawyer to win any injury claims against a government agency.

Severe Playground Injury Claims

For more severe injuries such as brain trauma, disfigurement, fractures, etc. your child will have to be represented by an experienced personal injury attorney. Even if you have concrete evidence, only an injury attorney that knows the legal tools will be able to get you fair compensation.

Related Post: What Is Second Impact Syndrome?

Playground Injury Attorney in Las Vegas

Don’t wait, there’s too much at stake to try taking care of a serious injury claim on your own. Contact the experienced attorneys at Cogburn Law at (702) 747-6000 for a free initial consultation and we will assess your case! Call us today!

Cogburn Law has been my first experience working with a law firm. Not only did they come to my home because I was so badly bruised, but they answered every call and email in a timely fashion. When the time came to present my case, they made sure I was informed of every detail. Jamie won my case because he is an extremely talented lawyer who genuinely cares about his clients.


Jenna F.