A play date can quickly go from giggles to tears when an accident or child injury is involved. What happens when a child is injured during a play date? Who is responsible for the injury and who pays the medical bills? Can you be held liable for a child’s injury if it occurs on your property?
Play-date-related injuries and accidents can be complicated to navigate. There are many questions about property owner liability and negligence. On the one hand, accidents happen (and particularly with young children). On the other hand, many accidents are entirely preventable.
Overview of Play Date Safety and Liability
Know the dangers. Many child injuries occur from falls. This includes things like falling off furniture, tripping over steps or falling off a skateboard in the driveway.
Other common dangers include:
- swimming pools (including drowning, diving board accidents, slip and falls on pool decks, chemical burns caused by cleaning supplies, and injuries caused by inflatable pool toys);
- playground equipment (this can include small, backyard swing-sets and larger play sets at municipal or private parks);
- dog bites or animal attacks (including bites or scratches caused by cats, dogs or any other domestic pets, including snakes or lizards);
- trampoline accidents (common injuries include concussion, broken bones and facial fractures);
- poisoning (injury or illness caused by ingesting household cleaning products, prescription or over-the-counter medications and any other toxic substances); and
- firearms injuries (an unsecured and/or loaded firearm can cause serious or fatal injuries).
Understanding these hazards can help you safely prepare your own house for a play date to avoid child injuries and also alert you as to what to watch out for (and ask about) when sending your own child off on a play date.
Location matters. Where the injury or accident occurs will play a significant role in determining who is financially responsible for the injury. For instance, if the injury occurred on your property, premises liability law dictates you may be responsible for the accident.
A business owner or municipality may be liable if the injury occurred on private property (such as at a local nature center or kids’ play area) or public property (a local beach or park).
What to Do if a Child Injury Occurs at Your House
Immediately render first aid if a child is injured at your house during a play date. Minor cuts, scrapes and bruises may be easily treated with a first aid kit. More serious injuries – a concussion, broken bone, or burn – may require emergency response. Alert the child’s parents as quickly as possible. You may express your concern for the child’s wellbeing, but avoid saying anything that could suggest liability or negligence (things like “I’m so sorry this happened – I only looked away for a few minutes,” sounds like an admission of fault).
What to Do if Your Child was Hurt at Someone Else’s House
Once your child has received the proper medical care, maintain all records of the accident (medical bills, witness information and so on). Talk to an attorney at your earliest opportunity to learn more about how best to protect your child’s rights.
Was your child recently injured on someone else’s property? Contact us at Chalik & Chalik in Fort Lauderdale: 888-476-4697.