My son was injured at a trampoline park, and we’ve incurred serious medical bills as a result. The trampoline park is refusing to pay, pointing to the liability waiver I signed when I walked in the door. Do I have any options available to me? I honestly feel as if the trampoline park is responsible for my son’s injuries, considering how the injury occurred. – Feeling Trampled On
Dear Feeling Trampled On,
Trampoline parks have exploded in popularity in recent years. With so many customers, injuries are inevitable. Therefore, it’s standard practice for the owners and operators of these parks to require signed liability waivers.
It makes sense for a waiver to cover common, expected injuries that can result from jumping on trampolines, such as cuts, scrapes and sprained ankles. However, liability waivers are not get-out-of-jail-free cards for the companies. If you’ve signed a waiver, you may be able to recover damages. But you’ll need to show that the company was negligent in some way.
Owners and operators must take reasonable steps to create and maintain safe environments for their customers. This basic responsibility under premises liability cannot be evaded, even if you’ve signed a waiver. A business – including a trampoline park – which fails to take these steps can be held liable for injuries.
There are some obvious hypothetical examples of a trampoline park that does not maintain a reasonably safe facility. Failure to post safety rules near the equipment, or allowing broken equipment to be used, would clearly indicate negligence.
Some examples of negligence are less obvious. The equipment may be defective. The materials used might fail industry standards and render the equipment less safe. In other cases, there may not be enough supervisors on hand at the park. The staff may be poorly trained or fail to enforce safety rules.
You can readily conclude that your ability to recover damages, including payment of medical bills, will depend heavily on the facts in your case. It is therefore vital that after an accident you gather as much information as you can. Make sure, first, you get your son the medical attention he needs.
Then start making notes. Write down basics such as the name of the park, the date and time you visited, and any individuals who were with you. If there were witnesses to the injury, get their names and contact information. These are all facts that can quickly escape your memory or ability to recall them. So the sooner you make notes, the better.
Make sure you also report the incident to management, in writing if possible, and request surveillance footage.
Next, collect all medical bills and doctor notes. This information will document the extent and expense of your son’s injuries. It’s also important that you follow all recommended treatments for your son.
Lastly, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible – even if you signed a waiver or release. They’ll review the waiver, compare it to what happened and tell you whether a negligence claim may be possible. Time is of the essence, and you should not wait to retain legal counsel if the company is refusing to assist you.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and not to be taken as legal advice, nor to establish an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Laura H. Budd or Weaver | Budd, Attorneys at Law. Submit your questions for The Fine Print to: firstname.lastname@example.org