My son was on a swing when it broke in half and he fell to the ground...

by Alexis
(New York)

We were at a BBQ at my aunt's house. My 11 year old son who weighs under 60 lbs and is 4ft 7 inches (he is on the small side for his age) was at the housing complex playground. He was on the swing pumping himself back and forth when suddenly the swing broke in half, and he came crashing down onto the hard padding. It knocked the wind out of him, and he was in pain and crying.

We carried him inside and laid him on the bed, but he was still saying he was in some pain. I called an ambulance and police came as well. They checked him out and did several tests. They took his blood pressure, gave him oxygen, felt his back for pain, etc. He was okay so we didn't take him to the emergency room at the time, but he still has soreness.

My question is, would I be able to sue the complex or come to a settlement for my son's pain and suffering? If so, what proof do I need. What about the manufacturer of the swing that broke while being used normally? I mean, what if other swings are also defective and this happens to a bunch of other kids? I did take pictures and video of the swing and playground. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "My son was on a swing when it broke in half and he fell to the ground...":

Alexis (New York):

Fortunately your son is "okay." According to your statement, "He was okay so we didn't take him to the emergency room at the time, but he still has soreness."

The apartment complex is certainly liable for your son's soreness. It's clear their negligence was the cause of your son's fall. The question is, what is your son's transient pain and soreness worth? The answer is, legally, probably not a lot.

Personal injury lawsuits must be based on negligence and evidence of "damages." Damages normally include medical bills, out of pocket expenses for medications, bandages, etc., lost wages, and pain and suffering. At this point, your son's damages are limited to soreness.

If you haven't already contacted the apartment complex manager, do so now. Management should refer the incident to their insurance company. The insurance company may contact you and offer a meager settlement. If they decide not to make an offer you may consider a small claims lawsuit. Unfortunately, without proof of damages the likelihood of succeeding will be quite limited.

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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