Am I Liable to get Sued for Personal Injury Lawsuit if I have a Trampoline?
It is estimated that millions of Americans have trampolines in their backyards. What better way to engage in outdoor recreation than to jump up and down from different angles and see who can outdo others? Leave it to a circus acrobat, George Nissen, to invent such a wacky and fun sport that brings out the kid in all of us.
You’d never guess that something as fun and seemingly innocent as a trampoline could potentially lead to a personal injury lawsuit. You might be surprised to learn that a trampoline – a device that elicits squeals of laughter and excitement – is involved in hundreds of thousands of injuries every year in the U.S. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 300,000 medically treated trampoline injuries in 2018. Of those, there were more than 110,000 emergency department visits.
Children are more likely to suffer injuries on a trampoline than adults. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that greater than 90 percent of trampoline injuries occur to children between the ages of 5 and 14. The most common reason for injury is two or more children colliding in the air while jumping at the same time.
When the Homeowner is Legally Responsible for a Trampoline Accident with Injuries
If the homeowner did not take measures to ensure the safety of the trampoline, and an accident resulting in injuries occurs, then they may be liable in a personal injury lawsuit. The homeowner, or property owner, may be legally responsible for trampoline injuries if the cause of the accident was due to poor property maintenance. An example of this is the property owner allowing someone to use an old or broken trampoline, and that leads to an accident with injuries.
The homeowner may also be legally liable in a personal injury lawsuit if they don’t keep trespassing children off of the trampoline. The trampoline in this case is classified as an attractive nuisance that poses a danger to children.
An attractive nuisance is a legal theory that states that a property owner may be liable for injuries to children who are trespassing on their property if the injury is caused by something – like a trampoline – that may attract children to the property.
Premises Liability & Homeowner Responsibility for Trampoline Injuries
A trampoline injury can occasionally fall under the category of premises liability. A premises liability claim is based on someone getting hurt as a result of a dangerous condition on a homeowner’s property. This could include a trampoline injury.
The property owner who has a trampoline in their yard, in most cases, can be sued under premises liability law if the injury was caused because of the following circumstances:
- Failure on part of owner to properly supervise use of the trampoline. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to watch over the individuals using the trampoline, especially if they are children or teenagers. For example, if a parent is supervising kids on a trampoline, they should prevent or discourage them from doing unsafe jumps and flips.
- Failure of owner to adequately maintain the trampoline. In addition to the property owner watching over the trampoline, they must also be concerned with the placement of the trampoline. For instance, a trampoline shouldn’t be used near low-hanging power lines, concrete ground, or other similar hazards.
If you are a homeowner, you will probably have both invited and uninvited visitors on your property. They can each be divided into three primary categories. The homeowner will be responsible for a special duty of care for each category of visitors.
These three category types are licensees, invitees, and trespassers.
Licensees: A licensee is an individual who has either: the owner’s implied permission to be on the property, or the owner’s express permission to be staying on the property. The main difference between a licensee and an invitee is that the licensee is visiting for his own purposes. Licensees could include the fast-food delivery person or the HVAC repair technician. The homeowner’s duty to the licensee is minimal compared to an invitee.
The property owner has a responsibility to warn of a dangerous condition only if:
- The property owner knows about the condition; and
- The licensee is not likely to discover it.
Invitees: An invitee is a visitor who has the homeowner’s express permission to be on the property. People under this category include guests, friends, relatives, and neighbors. The duty owed to the invitee is merely to exercise reasonable care in maintaining the property in a relatively safe condition.
Trespassers: A trespasser is a person who is not authorized to be on the property. The homeowner’s only duty to the trespasser is not to engage in any willful or wanton misconduct. However, an exception does exist to the duty owed to trespassing children, as mentioned above.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Trampoline Injuries?
As a homeowner, if an accident that results in injuries takes place while using your trampoline, you could be held responsible in a personal injury lawsuit and be on the hook for potentially hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
You’d probably assume that your insurance carrier would protect you in the event of an incident like this. Unfortunately for homeowners, most insurance policies will not cover the insured under these circumstances. Perhaps the reason why is that insurance companies know about the greater likelihood of injury for people who own a trampoline.
As a result, insurance companies typically respond by taking the following actions:
- Mandatory trampoline exclusion
- Outright cancellation of insurance
- Mandatory netting/fencing/ and or locks on the trampoline
- Additional “nuisance surcharge”
A nuisance surcharge, fine, or penalty is charged to deter an action, rather than to compensate for the costs of that action.
Roberts Jones Law Is Here to Serve Your Legal Needs During Personal Injury Cases Involving Trampoline Injuries
Roberts Jones Law has the expertise and experience to go to bat for you if you, the homeowner, are being sued as a result of an injury on your trampoline. We also have the knowledge and skills to ensure that you will not be held legally responsible in a frivolous personal injury lawsuit.
With representation from Roberts Jones Law, you have the peace of mind of knowing that your best interests will be served if your property is involved in this type of personal injury suit.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice.