As a child injury lawyer, I often am called to help parents whose children have been injured on playgrounds. Last week I was fortunate to be invited to speak to the New Jersey Association for Justice so I could teach other trial lawyers about handling playground injury cases. Thank you to my friends at the NJAJ for having me.
Playgrounds aren’t just swing sets and teeter-totters set atop sand and gravel, or at least they shouldn’t be. Did you know that practically each part of a playground (even where each play piece is located) is based on standards and guidelines set by an international organization and promoted by the U.S. Government?
Child injury cases can be very different from adult injury cases. The injuries, treatment, and impact are not the same. For example, a child’s injury might take many years to heal, or require specialized medical care that an adult wouldn’t need. What might seem a minor problem for an injured child at first glance could actually be a major problem later in life. In addition, communicating with injured children is sometimes more complicated than when speaking with an adult, who because of his or her age can provide more detailed information about what happened and the injuries.
My presentation provided strategic information to other attorneys fighting to secure justice for injured children and their families. I shared tips on how to protect the scene of an injury, who to contact when investigating a playground injury, and where to look for rules and regulations governing playgrounds.
Those rules and regulations are very detailed and specific as to each element of a playground – from surfacing material, to height, length, and angle measurements of various pieces of play equipment, to distances between pieces of equipment. And, all of this still depends on what age group the playground caters to.
Ultimately, it is imperative that a judge or jury understand the importance of these rules and regulations, and their basis in keeping our children safe. That’s why I travel to groups of lawyers and provide tactical tips on how to best serve child injury victims in court.