A recent report showed that trampoline park injuries are increasing across the country. Trampoline parks are indoor facilities that provide numerous trampolines and other types of entertainment. They are popular for birthday parties and other events. Often, the entire floor of a section of a trampoline park will be made of trampoline material—allowing kids the opportunity to hop and bounce all over. Many adults often enjoy these parks as well, as many parks advertise workout programs or other events targeted toward older customers. Unfortunately, many trampoline parks are inherently dangerous, and kids and adults alike may suffer serious injuries.
Trampoline Parks: Fun or Dangerous?
Trampoline parks are a popular recreational activity. As of 2014, over 345 parks had opened across the country. Trampoline parks are often large and feature numerous areas of trampolines for guests to jump on, as well as other activities like foam pits. In many trampoline parks, guests are able to jump across spans of 50 feet. However, our Georgia personal injury lawyer has reported that close to 100,000 injuries are reported in trampoline parks every year, ranging from bruises and muscle soreness to more serious injuries such as spinal fractures and paralysis. One frightening statistic showed that there were 22 deaths tied to trampoline parks from 2000 to 2009.
Why do so many injuries occur in trampoline parks?
There are no federal regulations that apply specifically to trampoline parks. Only two states, Michigan and Arizona, have specific laws that apply to trampoline parks. The trampoline park industry currently regulates itself, but many safety guidelines are actually voluntary. The trampoline park industry argues that every type of physical activity is risky in its own way.
At trampoline parks, falls are a common culprit for injuries. Many individuals fall on the padded borders between trampoline areas, which can be pretty hard. Other injuries occur when several people jump on a trampoline at one time, or when they attempt to flip in the air.
Trampoline parks require guests to sign a waiver before they may participate in any activities. Some of these liability waivers excuse a trampoline park from serious injuries or death. Some individuals may not fully understand what they are signing and may feel pressured to quickly sign the document.
However, in some situations, an individual may be able to sue even if a liability waiver was signed. For example, if the language of the waiver was ambiguous, the waiver may be ineffective. The waiver must clearly describe the situations in which the trampoline park will not be liable for any injuries.
Additionally, if the waiver hides important language, it may also be ineffective. If you sign a document but do not see a sentence in the waiver because it is in a very small font, or if it is hidden in some other way, the waiver may not stand.
Finally, a trampoline park cannot waive liability for gross negligence or intentional acts. For example, if an employee in the trampoline park pushes another individual, and that individual falls and breaks his arm, the trampoline park could be liable because pushing is an intentional act. Similarly, if an employee notices a toddler in the play area and fails to either remove the toddler or notify the toddler’s parents that the area is not safe for young children, the trampoline park may face liability if the toddler is subsequently injured.
Although many guests do enjoy trampoline parks without issue, the risk of injury is high. With the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney, injured victims may be able to recover damages against trampoline parks.