Over the last several years, trampoline injuries have sent more than one million victims to hospital emergency rooms. Most of these victims were children. Their injuries range from first aid-type wounds to catastrophic injuries, like spine or head injuries. Injuries like these could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even more, in medical bills alone. Because of these staggering financial costs, not to mention the emotional effects, substantial compensation might be available in these cases.
At Napoli Shkolnik PPLC, our dedicated trampoline injury lawyers quickly evaluate your injury claim, both for severity and fault. Next, we work with you to determine an appropriate course of action. In our experience, the best attorney-client relationships are partnerships. When we work together, we usually achieve results which exceed our clients’ expectations. Finally, once the case goes to court, we never stop fighting for you.
Common Trampoline Injuries
Head injuries are very common trampoline injuries. They are also very difficult to diagnose and treat. Much like sports-related head injuries, trampoline-related head injuries could occur slowly over time or happen all at once.
Prizefighters often jump between rounds to wake themselves up. That motion causes their brains to slap the insides of their skulls. A few jumps usually have the desired effect. But a few hundred jumps have a much different effect. The repetitive motion often causes brain swelling or even bleeding.
Falls also cause a significant number of head injuries. Trampoline nets reduce, but do not eliminate, this risk.
Responsibility varies as well. As outlined below, sometimes the owner is responsible, and sometimes the manufacturer is responsible. However, one thing is usually the same. These injuries are almost never the victim’s fault.
Head injuries are difficult to diagnose. Many people do not experience signature symptoms, like blackouts or extreme nausea. As a result, doctors often misdiagnose these injuries or overlook them entirely. Only after victims suffer more extreme symptoms, like personality changes, do doctors pay attention.
By this time, degenerative head injuries are even more difficult to treat. Generally, these victims must undergo many months of physical therapy. A good brain injury physical therapist trains uninjured areas of the brain to take over lost functions.
Many trampoline injury victims are hurt at commercial trampoline parks, like Sky Zone, Urban Air, Rockin’ Jump, and Big Air. These businesses are especially popular in the New York area during the long winter months, as well as for childrens’ birthday parties.
Private trampoline injuries are common as well. Backyard trampolines are arguably more dangerous than trampoline parks, mostly due to the lack of professional supervision and operation.
Generally, victims at both kinds of places are invitees. These individuals have permission to be on the property and their presence benefits the owner in some way. That benefit could be economic (collecting an entry fee) or noneconomic (enjoying company).
In these cases, owners have a duty of reasonable care. These owners must ensure the property is safe and also frequently inspect possible hazards, such as trampolines, to make sure they are still safe.
Other times, a defective product, like a poorly-fitting part or an improper tension setting, causes injury. Legally, there are two basic kinds of product defects:
- Design Defect: The 1970s Ford Pinto is a good example of a design defect. Engineers designed this car with the gas tank outside the rear axle. The gas tank was prone to rupture and explosion, even in low-speed crashes.
- Manufacturing Defect: Takata airbags suffered from manufacturing defects. In the 1990s, engineers replaced the reliable chemical propellant in these airbags with ammonium nitrate, a cheaper and less stable chemical. N₂H₄O₃ was the same compound Timothy McVeigh used to build the Oklahoma City truck bomb.
In both cases, damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are often available as well, in some extreme cases.
Knowledge of Hazard
Landowners are legally responsible for trampoline injuries if they knew, or should have known, about the hazard, yet they did nothing about it. This evidence could be:
- Direct: Smoking guns in trampoline injury claims include things like unaddressed defective product recalls or prior trampoline injuries at that location. New York trampoline accident lawyers usually uncover this evidence during the discovery process.
- Circumstantial: This evidence usually involves the time-notice rule. If the hazard was present for longer than a few hours, the owner should have known about it and should have done something about it.
The victim/plaintiff must establish actual or constructive knowledge by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
Generally, there is no knowledge element in defective product claims. Most manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their dangerous products cause. Knowledge, or lack thereof, is usually only relevant during the punitive damages portion of these trials.
Even ordinary trampoline use could cause a serious injury. For a free consultation with an experienced trampoline injury lawyer, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We have several offices in several states.