Georgia Jury Awards $3.5M for Trampoline Park Injury

Posted by Phillip Warren | Jul 08, 2024 | 0 Comments

Trampoline park injuries have been on the rise.  According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported more than 300,000 trampoline park-related injuries requiring medical treatment in the U.S. in 2018, with more than 110,000 of those requiring a trip to the emergency room.  This is why we want to make sure consumers are aware of the dangers of trampoline park injuries and know their rights.  This Georgia trampoline park trial provides a good example of the difficulties that can arise in proving liability—and damages—in trampoline park injury cases, the lengths big corporations and insurance companies will go to to defend trampoline parks, and the benefit of having a savvy attorney help you with your trampoline park case.

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Photo courtesy of CNN.

The Georgia Jumper Was Improperly Instructed by Trampoline Park Staff

Mathew Knight was walking toward a skills course in the trampoline park known as the “Ninja's Course” when a trampoline park staff member instructed him to jump from the walkway platform onto an inclined trampoline.  When he did, Knight was bounced backward, where he landed on an exposed frame member and sustained an open fracture to the tibia and fibula of his left leg.  Unfortunately, we have seen this often in trampoline park cases.  Staff members are not sufficiently trained or experienced enough to properly supervise or instruct trampoline park guests on safety, resulting in often catastrophic injuries.  In Knight's case, the trampoline park injury caused him to suffer deep venous thrombosis, ultimately resulting in him being declared disabled and unable to perform his job as a contractor.  With a strong case of liability against the trampoline park, and having suffered significant, life-changing damages as a result of his injury, Knight sued the trampoline park to recover for his accident. 

Defense Tactics

Social Media Videos Before and After the Accident

As experienced insurance attorneys who have fought insurance companies in many different types of injury cases—car accidents, slip-and-falls, medical malpractice cases, product injuries, etc.—it is rare these days that their tactics surprise us.  Insurance companies do not like to pay claims.  We have seen them twist, manipulate, even concoct evidence in an attempt to disprove a valid claim so they can save money.  In this case, defense counsel pointed to various videos posted on Knight's social media account, arguing he appeared happy, active, and “perfectly healed” after his trampoline park accident, suggesting he was not entitled to the amount of compensation he was seeking.  However, plaintiff's counsel persuasively argued the actual post-accident videos only showed a man trying to push through the pain so he can remain as active as possible.  Plaintiff's counsel was also able to prove one video, of the plaintiff riding a motorcycle, was actually filmed before the accident, undermining the defense's argument that it showed him “perfectly healed” after the accident. 

Security Footage from the Accident

In addition, the security footage from the trampoline park suggested foul play.  While defense counsel claimed Knight “ignored numerous signs” and “began doing unauthorized running flips,” which resulting in his broken leg, the evidence did not support this.  When the security footage was played during trial, the actual exchange that occurred between Knight and the staff member resulting in the injury glitched and skipped and would not play correctly.  From four different viewpoints, four different sets of footage captured the exchange, but they all skipped at the exact same moment.  The implication of this did not sit well with the jury.  After a three-day trial and 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury came back with a verdict of $3.5 million for the plaintiff. 

Proving Liability in Trampoline Park Injuries Requires Skilled Counsel

This Georgia case is proof: proving liability in a trampoline park injury lawsuit can be difficult.  Choosing to partake in trampoline activities comes with a certain assumption of the risk that often makes jurors skeptical about who is really responsible for the injury.  However, many trampoline parks are not sufficiently staffed nor is their equipment adequately inspected or installed.  Even if the activity can be dangerous, the provider still has a duty to put forth a safe environment and adequately instruct and warn jumpers of the dangers. 

If you or someone you know has been injured in a trampoline park, the best action you can take is to find an experienced personal injury attorney you trust to help you with your case.  The insurance company responsible for your claim is likely already gathering evidence and preparing to defend the claim.  You should be, too.  At Taylor, Warren, Weidner, Hancock & Barnes, our experienced personal injury attorneys never require any fee or obligation to simply talk to you about your case, answer your questions, and make sure you understand your rights.  Contact us today.

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About the Author

Phillip Warren

Phillip devotes the same honor, courage, and commitment to his clients as he did in the USMC.


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