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What You Need to Know About Trampoline Park Injuries

Posted by Phillip Warren | May 19, 2024 | 0 Comments

Trampoline park injuries have been soaring.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported injuries in excess of 300,000 requiring medical treatment.  Of those, more than 110,000 required a trip to the emergency room.  Although trampoline parks typically represent an active and fun way to spend time indoors, they are also a source of potentially severe injuries. Here is what you need to know about the trampoline park injury trend. 

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Photo by FoxNews.

Common Trampoline Park Injuries

The number one type of trampoline park injuries, according to the International Journal of Clinical Medicine, are sprains and fractures, often in the legs and ankles, but also occurring frequently in the neck and back.  These are typically injuries to the muscles, tendons, joints, nerves, cartilage, and spinal discs of the body. These types of injuries can include fractures, dislocations, sprains, and strains.  Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has shown that a trampoline-related bone fracture is 32% more likely to have occurred at a trampoline park or facility than on a home trampoline.  Additionally, injuries sustained at trampoline parks are usually more severe than those that occur on a backyard trampoline owned and used by a single family. 

Musculoskeletal injuries remain the biggest trampoline park injury group.  However, there are a number of different types of injuries that commonly occur at trampoline parks: 

  • Soft tissue sprains
  • Sprains and fractures of the arms and legs
  • Lacerations that require stitches
  • Scrapes and bruises
  • Joint dislocations
  • Concussions and other head injuries
  • Neck fractures and spinal cord injuries

Source: National Library of Medicine

How Common Trampoline Park Injuries Occur

The most common causes of trampoline park injuries are inadequate supervision of the jumpers, defective jump equipment, or improperly installed or maintained equipment. Many trampoline parks do not employ enough staff, or do not sufficiently train their staff, to effectively supervise the number of children or people jumping.  Unfortunately, some parents, unaware of the inadequate staffing, equipment issues, and other risks, often underestimate the dangers of trampoline parks and allow their children to play with minimal supervision. 

Most trampoline park injuries happen when multiple people are jumping at the same time resulting in unexpected bounces, body collisions, or unintended contact with gear, walls, springs, or other dangerous equipment. In addition to multiple jumpers contributing to trampoline park injuries, other common causes of these injuries include: 

  • Landing on the trampoline frame, mat, or springs
  • Attempting improper flips, somersaults, and other risky stunts that go awry
  • Landing on the ground or another hard surface separate from the trampoline

Who Is Liable if Your Child Is Injured at a Trampoline Park?

In many cases, trampoline park owners or operators may be liable if someone is injured on their premises.  However, in some instances, another party may be partially or fully liable for the damage caused.  The liability analysis requires someone experienced in personal injury litigation and depends on the circumstances surrounding the injury, such as the number, and training, of staff supervising, the number of jumpers, the adequacy of the equipment, and many more factors.  

Liability of the Trampoline Park Owner or Operator

Under Florida law, trampoline park owners or operators are responsible for ensuring that their property and jump equipment is secure and in good working order.  This can mean ensuring that all equipment is properly maintained, that all jump rules are understood and enforced, and that proper supervision is in place.  As an example, if an injury occurs due to poorly maintained equipment or improperly supervised jumpers, the trampoline park owner or operator may be liable as this might be considered negligence. 

Liability of the Trampoline Equipment Manufacturer

In some cases, the manufacturer of the trampolines or other equipment, including safety equipment, may be liable if a jumper is injured while using the equipment.  If there is a defective product, a failure to adequately warn, or a fault in a trampoline or trampoline equipment that caused the accident or injury, the trampoline manufacturer may be liable under Florida's product liability laws. 

Other Trampoline Park Customers

Sometimes, another trampoline park customer may be liable for a person's injury.  If another customer was improperly using the equipment or otherwise acting negligently, and that conduct was the direct cause of an accident or injury, the injured individual may be able to hold that party responsible.  For example, if one jumper pushes another off the trampoline and causes injuries, the parents of the injured jumper may be able to sue the other jumper for compensation to cover the costs of the injured person's medical care.

Multiple Parties – Joint Liability

In many instances, more than one party may be liable for a person's injuries. As an example, a trampoline equipment manufacturer may be responsible because a spring is defective, but the park owner or operator may also be held liable for failing to do routine maintenance that would have likely identified the defective spring.  Or, if the park owner was aware of the defective spring and did not take adequate measures to repair the spring or protect users from it, the owner may be liable for this negligence.  As another example, if one jumper pushes another, but the pushed jumper falls onto a hard surface where the park owner has removed the protective padding resulting in a more severe injury than the jumper might have experienced had the padding been left in its proper place, then the negligent jumper and the park owner may share liability. 

What if the Jumper or His Parents Signed a Liability Waiver?

There are many businesses that require customers to sign waivers to participate in their activities due to their inherent risk for injury.  These include, but are not limited to, activities such as ax throwing, ziplining, bungee jumping, etc.  Trampoline parks generally ask customers to sign a waiver of liability before jumping where the signer is required to agree not to sue if the jumper is injured or even dies. Because trampoline parks seem to be safe in comparison with bungee jumping or skydiving, many people sign these waivers without a second thought.  More often than not, they sign without even reading the waiver. 

Unclear or Unenforceable Language

Not all waivers are enforceable, even when signed.  Under Florida law, liability waivers must not be contrary to public policy and must be specific and clear.  Typical trampoline park waivers usually state the signer is willing to participate in the jumping activity despite their knowledge of the risks and dangers the activity poses.  Additionally, it usually states that the participant voluntarily assumes the responsibility for all the risks and dangers of the activity.  However, if the wording in the release relating to assumption of risk is written in an unclear or ambiguous way, the waiver may not be enforceable.  Even if the signer did not read the waiver first, if the release is unclear, an argument could be made that the signer did not understand the risk involved in the activity. 

Waiver Signed on Behalf of a Child

Waivers can be valid in Florida to waive liability for regular or ordinary negligence, i.e.,the  failure to use or exercise ordinary and reasonable care under the circumstances.  However, a waiver may be invalid if it violates certain criteria or attempts to waive your rights to recover for intentional torts such as fraud, assault, or battery.  Typically you do not surrender your right to sue for injury claims based on reckless or intentional conduct.

Florida has a waiver exception for minor children underFlorida Statute § 744.301.  Parents or natural guardians are authorized, on behalf of any of their minor children, to waive and release, in advance, any claim or cause of action against a commercial activity provider which would accrue to a minor child for personal injury, including death, resulting from an inherent risk in the activity.  Any liability waiver applied in a commercial context for profit (e.g., a trampoline park) cannot be enforced against a minor child unless the waiver includes certain language—in large, clear font as set forth in Fla. Stat. § 744.301. 

Have You or Your Child Sustained a Trampoline Park Injury?

Trampoline parks appear to be fun, adventurous places to spend a few hours, particularly on rainy or bad weather days.  However, the dangers are quite real, and the injuries can be expensive and potentially life changing.  If you or your child has sustained a trampoline park injury, you may be able to seek compensation.  You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney like our attorneys at Taylor, Warren, Weidner & Hancock, to discuss your case, your rights, and understand what steps you should take to preserve your claim.  We never require any fee, cost, or obligation to talk about your case and answer your questions.  Contact us

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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