It’s important for kids to be physically active. School playgrounds are where many children get most of their exercise. But while modern playgrounds are safer than past playgrounds, children can still suffer injuries while playing.
Most playground injuries are relatively minor, but some can be serious. It’s not uncommon for children to suffer broken bones, sprains/strains, dislocations, and even traumatic brain injuries while playing on playgrounds. These injuries can be costly for parents, as they may require ambulance rides, X-rays, MRIs, surgery, prolonged stays in the hospital, and more.
If your child was injured on a school playground, here’s what you need to know about getting compensation for your family’s damages.
You Can Sue Schools for Playground Injuries in Oklahoma
Through the legal doctrine of “sovereign immunity,” some states make it difficult or even impossible to sue public schools and school districts for injuries children suffer during school hours or on school premises, including those that occur on playgrounds. And while Oklahoma also uses sovereign immunity, it doesn’t make it impossible for parents to get compensation from schools and school districts if their children suffer playground injuries.
If your child was hurt on a playground in the Sooner State, you can sue the school or school district for compensation for your family’s damages. In addition to being allowed from a legal perspective, there’s also precedent. A woman received nearly $100,000 in Dec. 2017 from Oklahoma City Public Schools after she sued them for an injury her son suffered on playground equipment at his elementary school.
You Need to Prove the School or School District Was Negligent
Injuries can happen anywhere and at any time on school playgrounds. However, many of those injuries aren’t the fault of schools or school districts. Instead, they’re simply accidents that couldn’t have been foreseen or avoided. However, some accidents can be foreseen and avoided. When those accidents result in serious injuries, schools and school districts may be liable.
For example, parents may have strong claims against schools if their kindergarten-aged children are allowed by teachers or playground supervisors to play on playground equipment designed for much older children, or if their children are injured while playing on playground equipment that school administrators knew was broken or dangerous but failed to fix or remove.
You also may be able to sue a school or school district if your child was intentionally injured by another child, especially if the other child had a known history of attacking or attempting to injure other children, and school administrators did nothing to stop them.
The Injury Must Have Occurred During School Hours or a School-Sponsored Event
To be eligible for compensation for your child’s school playground injury, they must have gotten injured on the playground when they had permission to be there and were supervised (i.e., during recess or PE class) or during school-sponsored activities (i.e., school fairs, field days, etc.).
If your child was injured outside of these times, your family may not be eligible for compensation. For example, you may be ineligible to sue the school if you live near your child’s school and they got hurt on the playground while playing unsupervised during the evening or on the weekend.
Report Your Child’s Injury Right Away
Minors aren’t allowed to file lawsuits on their own, and depending on their age (especially if they are very young), their account of what happened may not be 100% reliable or accurate. Because of this, it’s up to their parents or guardians to report their injuries to school administrators.
After learning of playground injuries, school administrators should investigate, especially if the injuries occurred due to defective or unrepaired playground equipment or by children known for aggressive behavior towards classmates. Unfortunately, these investigations don’t always happen, and when they do, they’re not thorough enough to determine the cause of a child’s injury.
Contact Our Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyers After a Playground Injury
When children are injured on playgrounds because of adults’ negligence, they and their parents deserve compensation for their damages. Unfortunately, schools and school districts don’t make it easy for parents to get the compensation they and their children need for their medical bills and pain and suffering. Although they aren’t immune to lawsuits in Oklahoma, they still have plenty of protection and can easily deny liability.
Our Oklahoma personal injury attorneys at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers know the challenges of winning playground injury lawsuits. We also know that even the toughest cases can be won with plenty of evidence, deep knowledge of the law, and years of experience winning settlements and jury verdicts. Contact us today to learn how we can help—your consultation is free, and you owe us nothing unless we win your case.