Faulty Playground Equipment Caused My Son's Head Injury...

by Cindy
(Eugene, OR)

My 15 yr. old son was playing on the swing with other kids and the swing set broke and the top steel bar fell and hit him in the head. The wood that held the bar on was rotten.

He missed 2 months of school and has continuing medical problems due to this incident. This happened in April 2010 in Bremerton, Washington where I was living in HUD housing. Should I sue HUD housing for faulty playground equipment that caused my son's head injury? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Faulty Playground Equipment Caused My Son's Head Injury...":

Whenever an accident occurs on public property, the person you should be suing is the property owner. In this case, is the property owned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development? If so, then you should absolutely be submitting a claim to them.

Be advised, however that they are a federal government agency. Many government agencies have administrative requirements that must first be met before you can sue them. This is called "exhausting administrative remedies" and it will be a bar to recovery if you fail to follow certain steps.

This is not simply filling out an incident report. Usually it requires completing a standardized form that can be found in a local HUD office or on-line.

Another issue that you may encounter is:

1. whether your son (at 15) was using the swing set in a foreseeable manner, and

2. whether your son exceeded a height/weight requirement.

These are not necessarily going to stop a claim, but are certainly things to consider that may limit liability.

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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