Severe cut while at recess...

by Naveen
(Irvine, CA)

My son, who is 6 years old (1st grade), was playing in the playground/structure at recess and he cut his head badly on the hanging wood and metal bridge, which has sharp edges. He cut his head and was bleeding a lot. He had to go to the emergency room to have the cut treated, and had 11 staples put in his head.

Who is liable for this, the school or the people who made the playground structure? What can I do to get the hospital bill paid? Also, should my son get something for his pain and the trauma of all this? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Severe cut while at recess...":

Naveen (Irvine, CA):

The possible responsible parties are the school district AND the manufacturers of the playground structure. The school knew, or should have known, the structure was hazardous to young children. The school had a "legal duty of care" to make sure the playground and the structures upon it were safe for those children who played on it.

It is absurd to think your child might have contributed to his own injures. The structure should have been made to withstand just about any type of use by a 6 year old.

In some minor, or "soft tissue" injuries, parents might be able to handle their child's injury claim without legal representation. Your son's injuries were quite serious, especially because of the possibility of permanent scarring.

Moreover, if the structure was designed or manufactured in an unsafe manner, you may have the basis of a product liability (or "defective product") claim against the manufacturer.

In any event, you, on behalf of your son, have a right to compensation for his medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, etc.), your lost wages while caring for your son, and an additional amount for for his pain and suffering.

Contact several personal injury attorneys. Most attorneys will not charge any fee for an initial office consultation. Bring along photographs of your son's injuries, copies of his medical bills, and receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses. Also bring along a letter from your your employer verifying any days you may have lost while caring for your son.

Whatever you do, don't sign any documents, or agree to any settlement until such time as you have visited with an experienced injury attorney.

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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