Summer is finally upon us, and that means kids in your neighborhood will be looking to have fun every chance they get. If you have a trampoline in your backyard, or have neighbors with a trampoline, it’s likely that you and your family will be spending more time on the trampoline as the days get longer. But, did you know that trampoline usage can lead to premises liability issues?
Mintz Law Firm has handled multiple cases against homeowners who were found liable for trampoline accidents sustained due to negligence on the part of the homeowner. We once settled one man’s case nearly a decade after an incident he had experienced as a minor, while another case resulted in a settlement for over one million dollars. Trampoline injuries can be very serious injuries.
If you and your family are going to play on a trampoline, you should be aware of some of the issues we’ve seen that have resulted in injury and legal claims.
Poorly Maintained Equipment
Even when used properly and safely, trampolines take a lot of abuse. The manufacturers try to make them durable, but if you don’t thoroughly inspect them to make sure there are no worn-out areas or parts that have become damaged, you’re just asking for an accident to happen. Since they are kept outside year-round by most owners, long-term exposure to weather can also cause trampolines to deteriorate. Before you invite other onto your trampoline, or use the trampoline of another, inspect every part of the trampoline carefully and be sure that it’s in good repair. Don’t just do this at the start of summer – inspect it every time before any usage.
Ignoring Weight Restrictions and Multiple Jumpers
Each trampoline has its own weight restrictions, and it’s best not to exceed or even maximize what the manufacturer has declared as safe. They can usually accommodate the weight of large adults without surpassing the weight restrictions, but multiple jumpers at one time may exceed the weight limits. Multiple trampoline safety guidelines also recommend against having more than one jumper on the trampoline at a time. Multiple jumpers increase the risk of injury due to collisions and an untimely double bounce and do a lot of damage to the spine or the leg or hip joints.
Lack of a Safety Net
Falling off a trampoline can be extremely dangerous. Kids and adults can break bones if they land on the side of the trampoline or on the ground. This is made worse when children are doing flips and high jumps. A safety net helps keep kids inside the trampoline when they don’t “stick the landing.” Just be sure that you inspect this part of the equipment very closely, just as you’ve done with the trampoline itself.
Allowing Kids Who Are Too Young
Little kids love trampolines, but if they’re too young, it’s just not safe. While there may be no true consensus on the proper age, the general belief seems to be that children under three years of age should never be allowed on a trampoline. Some push that to six years of age, just to be safe. Given the tendency of kids to be reckless or to simply not understand the need for safety, you might want to err on the side of caution.
No Adult Supervision
Just like any activity involving children, adult supervision is an absolute must. Most parents and adults would never leave their kids unattended in their swimming pool, and that’s the same attitude that everyone should take about trampolines. Whenever one is being used, it’s essential that an adult be present at all times. And if the adult needs to leave, even to run into the house for a moment, no child should use the trampoline until the adult has returned.
Lack of Insurance Coverage
It’s a good idea to check with your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if you’d be covered in the event of a trampoline accident. Premises liability claims can be substantial, which means coverage is very important. Keep in mind, however, that no amount of insurance coverage negates taking the safety precautions that we’ve discussed here.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to an improperly maintained or utilized trampoline, or other forms of negligence, the attorneys at Mintz Law Firm can make sure your legal rights are protected. Reach out to us for a free case evaluation today.