Who is responsible for trampoline park injuries?

A recent NPR feature told how the new recreation fad of trampoline parks have been seeing the expectable number of injuries.

The NPR story told how one 13-year-old Oklahoma boy bounced off the trampoline, smacked into a wall and broke two bones in his arm. The arm required surgery to insert two pins into the arm.

If you have not been tp a trampoline park, you should know they are everywhere, including Williamsport. Nationwide, trampoliners are streaming toward these parks - the International Association of Trampoline Parks estimates 50 million visits in the last year in North America alone.

And that pediatricians nationwide are cautioning parents about the real danger of getting hurt on a fun outing. It is important to note that pediatricians know that injuries are far more common on home trampolines than at trampoline parks. Nevertheless, the number of trampoline park injuries rose a hundredfold from 2010 to 2014.

All this raises the question: Who is liable for such injuries?

The answer is that the owner of any business has a duty of care to pay for injuries incurred on their property. This includes trampoline parks, skydiving schools, ski lodges and many other situations.

The law is not always clear on who owes what. Generally, you case is strong if several factors line up:

  • The facility showed obvious negligence that led to the injury. A defective trampoline, or its location next to a wall might qualify as negligence.
  • The user assumed risk for the injury. If you ignore the possibility of injury, that does not strengthen your case. But the property owner or business operator needs to show that you, the visitor, understood the risks.
  • Whether you signed a waiver. Courts do honor waiver signing. Most ski lodges, for instance, insist that you sign a waiver - because skiing, like tramp lining, is fun - but dangerous.

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