Children love to play and will inevitably jump at the opportunity to swing, slide, or climb when they see a playground inviting them to do exactly that. Unfortunately, playgrounds are not always safe and equipment is sometimes defective, or inadequately maintained, presenting numerous hazards to unsuspecting children. Every year, more than 200,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for playground-related injuries, and over 20,000 of them receive a traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emergency department visits for playground-related TBIs increased significantly since 2005, making these injuries less of an anomaly and more of an alarming trend all parents should be aware of.
Signs and Symptoms of Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries occur when an individual receives a blow or jolt to the head, causing the brain to shake within the skull. This can result in damage, which might be severe, leading to chemical changes in the brain cells. For children, this is particularly dangerous since the brain is still in its developmental phase. A child who has suffered from a TBI will feel unwell or fatigued. Other symptoms might also include:
- Difficulty with memory
- Persistent headaches
- Loss of consciousness
These are only some of the more common symptoms. TBIs have a wide range of symptoms, so if you suspect your child sustained a brain injury, it is crucial you take him or her to the doctor to receive a proper examination.
Playground Brain Injuries
Playground brain injuries can happen on any piece of unsafe equipment, but they typically happen on monkey bars, slides, swings, and climbing equipment. According to the CDC, children between the ages of 5 and 9 are most at risk for playground-related injuries.
Defects that can lead to brain injuries include:
- Ladder defects
- Loose screws or fasteners
- Exposed hardware
- Entrapment hazards
- Poor construction
- Inadequate ground cushioning
Who is Responsible?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides manufacturers of playground equipment specific guidelines and suggestions regarding material composites in equipment and proper warning signs or instructions for playground equipment. Manufacturers are typically responsible for defects in playground equipment, though any other party involved in the chain of distribution might also be held liable for damages sustained by children. The types of defects for which they can be responsible include:
- Design Defects: No matter how well a piece of equipment was made, if its design is inherently dangerous, it is defective. For example, if a sliding board was designed without adequate railings, this design would be considered dangerous and might pose a risk to the safety of children who used it.
- Manufacturing Defects: If a piece of equipment was poorly made, it might have some dangerous defects, such as loose or easily breakable bolts, which can cause the equipment to break while in use, resulting in severe or fatal injuries.
- Inadequate Warnings: If playground equipment lacks the requisite warnings necessary to safely use the equipment, this is also considered a type of defect. These warnings should always be placed in an area where they are visible to users, inspectors, or other maintenance personnel.
If you suspect your child has sustained a brain injury, the first step you should take is to ensure he or she is properly examined and diagnosed by a doctor. Symptoms do not always immediately arise, so while your child might seem fine, there might be a serious problem brewing.
Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys
Brain injuries can be incredibly severe and result in lasting healthy complications, disability, costly medical expenses, and necessitate lifelong care that can make everyday life difficult for both victims and their families. These cases are also often incredibly complex and require the aid of a highly skilled catastrophic brain injury lawyer who has the experience and resources to effectively advocate for you or your loved one. At Shea & Shea - A Professional Law Corporation, our team of San Jose traumatic brain injury lawyers are backed by over a century of combined legal experience and can help you pursue the maximum monetary compensation you deserve.
If your child has suffered a traumatic brain injury, now is the time to take action and seek justice. We will examine the details of your case and determine who should be held liable for the damages. When you chose our firm, we will provide you with top-tier representation as well as compassionate legal advice.
Contact our office today at (408) 883-3863 for a free case evaluation.