Family Sues Camp Over Defective Playground, Ineffective Lifeguards
A family grieving the loss of a 10-year-old son has filed a lawsuit against the city and other parties after a tragic accident. According to the lawsuit, the boy’s older brother watched as the child attempted to reach for a defective handle, fell backward into the water, and could not be rescued in time to save his life.
It would be unclear from the information provided whether to not the manufacturer of the play area is primarily responsible for the defective handle or if the city did not perform routine maintenance on the play area before opening it up to the public. It could, in fact, be both.
Analyzing the arguments
The family will claim that the playground was defective and that the property owners (in this case a municipality) should be responsible for ensuring the safety of the playground. But the case against the lifeguards is more damning.
Essentially, the lifeguards weren’t able to get to the boy in time to save his life. In cities, the lifeguards may be pulling double duty to both protect the public from drowning situations and selling beach umbrellas or whatever else. In this case, both lifeguards who were on-duty at the time of the death have been named in the accident.
The weakest case is against the playground manufacturer who may have engineered a defective handle, but probably didn’t. It’s more likely that the handle was damaged from use and the property owners should have been more attentive to the safety of the playground. Ultimately, attractions such as these need to be checked multiple times to ensure that they are safe. Afterall, these are children playing there.
The city will move for sovereign immunity protection meaning the family might be capped on how much money they recover. Often, there is no sum of money that will pay for the death of a child, but accountability and a promise to put a new policy in place or enforce an old policy will help the family feel like the death wasn’t for nothing. Otherwise, they invited the public onto dangerous premises and someone died because they failed to conduct maintenance beforehand. They will pay for that failure.
The defense of the company that manufactured the playground is easier because it’s not clear that the handle was defective. It could have just required routine maintenance. However, if a manufacturing or design defect contributed to the death, then the company may end up paying more money and be less liable, since they are not protected by sovereign immunity.
Ultimately, the potentially split duties of the lifeguards contributed more to the final outcome than any other factor, but municipalities still allow this to occur. It saves money not to hire a separate worker to handle concessions. Meanwhile, this is not the first time this allegation has been made.
Talk to a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Gillette Law represents the interests of Jacksonville residents injured by negligence. Call our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.