September 17, 2015
Children across the nation excitedly anticipate time spent on the playground and beg their parents for a chance to enjoy the equipment and the outdoors. But for the state of New York, unsafe playground conditions have resulted in millions of dollars of payouts in personal injury awards. For example, one 6-year-old lost part of her finger due to a protruding metal piece on a slide. The family of Eridania Martinez settled the case for $750,000 in 2013. The family attorney reported that the city had repaired the slide numerous times, but the repairs were never done correctly.
In a separate incident, an 8-year-old boy cracked his elbow when he tumbled off the monkey bars onto the worn-out surface below. City records indicated that the spot needed repairs prior to William Pleasant’s accident; again, the city failed in their duty. That case was eventually settled for $350,000.
In a third incident, a 4-year-old girl tripped over unrepaired steps and slammed her head into a tree trunk, cracking the wood. The child’s mother called their family doctor, who advised them against taking her to emergency. However, once Catherine Trenerry of San Francisco returned home, she suffered a grand mal seizure. The case was resolved for $400,000, but the girl still struggles to speak.
Sadly, these playground injuries and accidents are far from isolated events. In fact, the city settled 566 claims totaling nearly $20 million related to playground issues between 2010 and 2015. Over the past decade, the number of these claims has risen 53 percent. Critics blame the safety issues on failure to conduct timely repairs and poor inspection processes. For example, from March 2014 to March 2015, nearly 200 work orders that were marked for immediate attention took at least four months to process. As a result, the Parks Department will institute several changes, including digitizing work orders and hiring a playground supervisor in each borough. Even so, the Parks Department counters that the 1,000 playgrounds across the city are well maintained and safe for general use.
If your child has suffered a playground or similar injury, you might be entitled to compensation. Contact our California personal injury lawyer for additional assistance.