Visitor Question

Can play center deny liability based on “Play At Own Risk” sign?

Submitted By: Janice (Columbia, MO)

My adult daughter attended a party at a play center. The play center has climbing apparatus and netting. A child in the party got stuck in the netting. My daughter freed the child, but she slipped in the netting, her foot falling through. The foot got caught, resulting in a fracture and a clean break on a toe.

The Center claims no liability for the injury because they post a sign saying

“Play At Your Own Risk” at the entrance. Is there any way to get the Center to cover her medical bills? Can they deny any liability based on “at own risk” signage? How can we find out their insurer to place a claim directly? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Janice,

While the center placed a sign stating “Play At Your Own Risk,” that may not entirely absolve them from liability. Businesses can put up as many signs as possible, but if they act negligently, they still may be responsible for injuries they cause. Nonetheless, it is likely the play center will continue to deny liability.

The injuries your daughter sustained are quite serious. A fractured foot and toe will require substantial medical bills, therapy, and pain and discomfort.

There may be other children and adults who have been caught and injured in the netting. You won’t know that unless you have access to their records. If the center had people who were previously injured in the netting and failed to correct the problem or eliminate it, then the center may have known, or should have known the netting was dangerous.

If with that actual or imputed knowledge the center failed to act, they may have no excuse for their negligence. As a result, the center may not be able to escape liability.

Seek the counsel of several experienced personal injury attorneys in your area. Bring along your daughter’s medical records and bills. After reviewing the documentation, the attorneys will tell you if they believe your daughter’s claim is viable.

If you have a viable case, your attorney will be able to file a lawsuit and subpoena the center’s records, take the depositions of the center’s owners and employees, and engage in other legal action which will help determine whether the center knew, or should have known about the netting and related injuries.

If your attorney discovers enough evidence of negligence, the center may decide to settle the claim instead of engaging in a long and expensive lawsuit.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: December 12, 2015

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