Injuries related to trampoline jumping are extremely common—an estimated 1,002,735 trampoline-related emergency room visits took place in the United States between 2002 and 2011, which is more than 100,000 per year during that period. 95% of these injuries were sustained on a trampoline at a home.
While trampolines are fun, they can pose a serious injury risk, even if jumpers exercise caution. If someone is injured while jumping on a trampoline, who, if anyone, can be held liable?
In order to determine who is at fault for a trampoline-related injury, you must first establish how the injury occurred.
Injuries sustained on a trampoline can happen for a variety of reasons. It’s important to establish the facts of your injury in order to seek damages from the correct party.
Consider those who may have directly or indirectly caused your injury:
- The homeowner or business owner.
- Another individual that was also jumping or was near the trampoline.
- The trampoline manufacturer.
Any of these three parties may be at fault.
For example, while bouncing, you may have suffered a broken wrist. Was a screw loose in the base of the trampoline, causing you to fall? If so, you would pursue damages from the homeowner or business owner under premises liability law, as they are responsible for maintaining the safety of the trampoline.
But what if you sustained the injury when an onlooker threw something at you, causing you to fall? In this situation, you would pursue damages from the individual who threw something at you, as their negligence led to your injury.
Or it may be that, when the trampoline was being manufactured, the manufacturer did not include the correct number of springs, and this fact caused the trampoline to buckle and you to fall. You would pursue damages from the trampoline manufacturer under product liability law.
If you are injured while jumping on a trampoline, be sure to document the scene and seek medical attention. Take pictures of the trampoline and your injuries, and be sure to note down any witnesses. Documenting the injury will help establish the facts of your case.
Trampoline related-injury liability often falls under premises liability law, which is used to determine if the homeowner was in any way negligent, and if their negligence led to your injuries.
In California, a person who was injured on someone else’s property—whether the property was owned by a private homeowner or business—may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages. A premises liability claim can hold negligent property owners financially liable for injuries to a visitor.
Under California law, property owners have a legal obligation to look out for the safety of their visitors. The law requires property owners to maintain a “reasonably safe” environment. Of course, “reasonably safe” can be subjective, and often depends on the unique facts that led to your injury. In general, reasonably safe refers to the property owner’s duty to exercise ordinary care in the management of their property. A failure to fulﬁll this duty constitutes negligence.
As we have previously discussed, establishing fault in a premises liability case requires the plaintiff to prove the following:
- The defendant owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property.
- The defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property.
- The plaintiff was harmed.
- The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff.
If a property owner’s negligence played a role in the trampoline-related injury that you sustained, then you should work with a personal injury lawyer, like those at Penney & Associates, who can help you pursue financial compensation under premises liability law.
If an individual was acting negligent on or near the trampoline, and you sustained injuries as a result of their actions, that person may be found liable.
Individuals have the responsibility to not act negligently around others. This is known as a “duty of care,” a term which describes everyone’s reasonable expectation of safety.
In one negligence case, a plaintiff was awarded an $800,000 injury settlement after they fell off a trampoline and broke their foot. The plaintiff was unexpectedly subject to “double-bouncing,” a phenomenon in which one jumper staggers their landing with the other jumper, often resulting in higher bounces. The court found that the plaintiff did not know the defendant was double bouncing. This fact, combined with the general danger the defendant posed, was enough to find the defendant negligent and liable for the injuries.
Everyone is expected to act within reason. If someone acts irresponsibly and another person is injured as a result, that irresponsible action may rise to the level of negligence. If it does, then the injured party may be entitled to compensation from the person who acted negligent.
But what if the trampoline itself was defective—can you sue the trampoline manufacturer directly?
It could be that neither a property owner nor an individual acting negligently led to your injuries. There is a chance that the trampoline itself was defective. If this is the case, you can pursue a product liability claim against the trampoline manufacturer, or the trampoline seller, depending on the facts of your injury.
In some states, plaintiffs must prove that the manufacturer was negligent. But in California, manufacturers are held to a stricter standard—the law holds that manufacturers can be held liable if their product, when used as intended, causes an injury. This is known as strict liability. If you are a plaintiff in California, you do not necessarily have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent. You may just have to prove that the trampoline was defective.
There have been numerous situations in which trampoline manufacturers have recalled their products due to defects—in 2012, a trampoline manufacturer recalled close to 100,000 14-foot trampolines after they received a number of reports of the safety net breaking, causing injuries to jumpers. This just goes to show that product defects are not unheard of when it comes to trampolines. You can always check for open recalls to a trampoline or any product using the Consumer Product Safety Commission online directory.
If you were injured while jumping on a trampoline, contact the lawyers at Penney & Associates today! We are experienced personal injury attorneys that are ready to help uncover the facts of your case. Call us today for a free consultation.