Trampoline Park Injury Attorneys in Monmouth County
Freehold Attorneys protecting the rights of people injured at Trampoline Parks
Trampoline parks are jumping up all over the place in recent years. Some of the more popular ones in New Jersey are SkyZone, Rebounderz, Get Air and Pump It Up. From 2001 to 2014, the number of parks jumped from 40 to 280. Each month, several new parks open. In addition, there are trampoline facilities in gyms, arcades and family fun centers. Yet they are not without risks.
A recent study found that between 2010 and 2014, the number of Emergency Room visits for trampoline-related injuries suffered by children at trampoline parks increased from 581 to 6,932. While at the same time, trampoline-related injuries at homes, in gyms, and in schools remained steady.
Why are these trampoline parks more dangerous? Customers can undertake higher and more dangerous jumps because the parks are larger and the trampolines have longer and wider surface areas. This increases the risk of leg injury. Jumpers are often not separated by age or weight, which results in injuries to smaller children. Employees who are supposed to monitor customers and prevent injuries are often high school or college students with little or no training.
In many facilities customers can play sports on trampoline surfaces, leading to unexpected injuries not typically associated with trampolines. For example, parks often set trampoline beds at a 45-degree angle and allow people to catapult themselves into the air or have designs with foam pits, ball pits, and slides that are more dangerous or present new and unexpected hazards when coupled with trampolines.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that no children should play on trampolines, and further, that trampolines should only be used for training programs and certain sports, and only under the supervision of a trained adult. The Academy recommends that trampolines “should never be used in the home environment, in routine physical education classes or in outdoor playgrounds
Causes of Injuries
- Collisions with other jumpers
- Landing improperly
- Landing on the springs or frame
- Double jumping with jumpers or different weights and size
- Poorly maintained equipment
- Lack of supervision
- Lack of trained or improperly trained personnel
- Failure to educate about the proper way to jump
Maureen lost her only son, Ty, when he died in February 2012 after somersaulting into a shallow foam pit at Skypark, a facility in Phoenix. Maureen led the way for Arizona to adopt regulations. Only Michigan has followed. However, trampoline parks are not regulated by our federal government nor does New Jersey regulate them.
In response to more trampoline park injuries, the trampoline park industry has created some best practices through the International Association of Trampoline Parks (ATP) and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). The IATP and the IAAPA have also created a list of best practices under section F2970 This section sets forth requirements regarding design, manufacture, installation, operation, maintenance, inspection and major modification of commercial or institutional trampoline courts used for recreational purposes. The practice is intended to be used by architects, designers, engineers, construction contractors, manufacturers, inspectors, owners and operators of such courts.
The new standard provides detailed information on the design of trampoline courts, covering such topics as device analysis, drawings and records, regulatory body review and patron containment. The design section of the standard also covers specific information on subjects such as impact surfaces, beds, patron containment, dismount problems, barriers and foam pits.
Applicable certifications and performance criteria for trampoline courts are listed. Sections on the manufacturer, owner/operator, and patron responsibilities are also included in F2970. Practices set forth in ASTM Standard F2970-15 that trampoline parks are encouraged to follow.
Who to Sue
Given the inherent dangers in running a trampoline park, operators often use franchises and set up each trampoline park as a separate entity. If an operator owns many trampoline parks, a paraphernalia of parent companies, subsidiaries, and related entities may exist, making it difficult to identify the correct defendant. Additionally, waivers are often obtained and vigorous arguments must be made to allow the case to proceed.
Most trampoline parks have multiple security video cameras throughout their premises. Obtain all video footage during the period your client was on the premises – it may demonstrate that the park’s employees did not follow safety procedures in supervising patrons or allowed unsafe behavior that led to your client’s injury. If possible, obtain evidence of all similar accidents – both from the park’s own records and from an ambulance and EMS run sheets. This evidence can show that the park was on notice of existing and potential dangers.
Discovery should be aimed at obtaining the park’s overall safety plans, such as the plan for training the park’s jump guards, the plan for inspecting and maintaining the equipment, or the plan for emergency first-aid procedures, as well as identifying the jump guards, managers, and other patrons who were present when your client was injured.
Experts need to be obtained, not only for medical issues but also to show that the trampoline park is liable. Many experts believe that trampoline parks are defective by design and that they predispose users to an unreasonable risk of injury – especially if multiple jumpers are permitted or if there are angled beds that propel users laterally across the trampoline surface. Accordingly, prosecution of these cases is difficult. In choosing a lawyer, you should be certain the lawyer has familiarity with handling complex litigation.
In the Meantime, Recommended Tips Before Jumping In
- Before heading out, visit the park’s website. Read their safety information.
- Talk to your kids in advance about safety issues.
- When you arrive at the park, read the posted safety information with them.
- Avoid peak hours, especially in the evenings and on weekends and holidays.
- Wear comfortable clothing and leave dangly jewelry at home
- Instruct kids to stay away from larger participants and to avoid crowded situations.
Contact Tomes & Hanratty, P.C.
It is important to consult with an attorney when injured by the negligence of another. When that party is an amusement facility, like a trampoline park, experience with consumer protection is a must. Contact Tomes & Hanratty, P.C. for a free consultation.