Children receiving burns from a new slide at kindergarten...

by Veronica
(Nuevo, CA)

My child just started Kindergarten. The Kindergarten playground just installed new play equipment: slides, swings, etc. Shortly after that, my child began coming home with burns on her back and arms. She said it was from "the blue slide."

After the third day of her coming home with new burns, I spoke to her teacher and asked if any other parents had complained about injuries to their children. I told her I was concerned that maybe the new slide was too rough. I later found out, another parent had complained about the same equipment, but was told the equipment was fine and safe for the children.

What can I do about this? Is there a way I can take legal action? Would I file a case against the school or the manufacturer of the slide? Will I need an attorney? Thank you for any info you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Children receiving burns from a new slide at kindergarten...":

Veronica (Nuevo, CA):

Fortunately your child wasn't seriously injured. However, without an injury requiring medical treatment, you really don't have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the school or manufacturer of the slide. Because of the lack of serious injury, you will not be able to find an attorney who will accept your case, whether it be against the school or the slide manufacturer.

In both instances you're dealing with a legal doctrine called "duty of care." The school has a legal duty of care to do everything reasonably possible to protect its students from undue harm or injury. This means the play area, the slide, the ground, the climbing bar, and other items in the play area accessible to young children must be safe.

The same holds for the manufacture of the slide. In the manufacturer's case, you're alluding to what is called a defective product claim. Manufacturers have a legal duty of care to do everything reasonably possible to make sure the slides are safe for the children who use them.

When a school or manufacturer breaches its legal duty of care and a child is seriously inured, the breach is referred to as negligence. Even though there appears to be some negligence in your case, the lack of injury would bar you from recovering compensation. Learn more about the concept of negligence in personal injury claims here and here.

Negligence resulting in injuries to children makes the school and/or the manufacturer liable for damages. Damages can include the child's medical bills, a parent's out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, etc.), lost wages while a parent tends to their child, and an additional amount for the child's pain and suffering.

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

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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