New regulations focus on trampoline injuries

One of the more contentious areas of premises liability law involves public recreational facilities such as swimming pools, water parks and now, trampoline parks. What constitutes reasonable safety precautions for activities that are inherently risky? According to State Senator Ted Lieu, trampoline parks are not doing enough to prevent patrons from potentially serious injuries. He introduced a bill to change that situation.

Indoor trampoline parks have become a popular destination, offering birthday packages for children, exercise classes for adults and competitive team sports. However, many patrons — including parents — do not understand how dangerous bouncing on a trampoline can be. The legislation, SB 256, gives the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health the authority to conduct inspections and requires safety training for all employees. It also increases the liability insurance requirement for trampoline park operators to $1 million per incident.

The Academy of American Pediatrics would like to ban privately owned or public trampolines altogether, citing the following statistics from 2009:

  • 98,000 trampoline-related injuries
  • 3,100 hospitalizations
  • 40 percent of injuries result from falls

The majority of these accidents occurred on private property. Half of trampoline-related injuries to children involve bone fractures or sprains. However, when children accidentally fall or jump off the edge, they are at risk for serious head and neck or spinal cord injuries. Authorities warn that this can happen even when there is protective netting in place.

If you or your child is injured because the owners of a recreational facility neglected to enforce reasonable safety measures, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit — even if you signed a waiver. You may also have a case if your child was injured on private property. California homeowners are required to install safeguards around potentially dangerous areas such as pools, ponds or backyard trampolines. An experienced attorney can explain your legal options for recovering the damages you are entitled to under California premises liability statutes.


Reducing restaurant slip and fall accidents

How much do you usually spend when you go out for a meal? Thirty dollars? Fifty dollars? Most people, even in their wildest dreams, cannot imagine a restaurant bill for $30,000 or more, but this is the typical expense for a slip-and-fall accident. Insurance companies covering the restaurant industry expect to pay out for numerous personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits every year. With slip-and-fall accidents increasing, however, restaurant insurers are taking prevention more seriously.

A recent article in Full-Service Restaurant Magazine outlined some of the steps restaurant owners can take to make their premises safer:

  1. Improve floor traction. There are dozens of restaurant flooring varieties, and property owners should think as much about friction as they do about aesthetics. Better traction translates into fewer slips, even when the floor is wet. Restaurant owners or managers should have their floor traction tested and, if the result is substandard, they should invest in resurfacing.
  2. Attend to spills. Food or drink spills are inevitable in a restaurant, which is another reason to install flooring with good wet and dry traction. It is also important to clean up spills quickly and alert patrons about potentially hazardous areas.
  3. Clean floors properly. Even high-traction floors can become slippery if grease and contaminants accumulate on their surfaces. Mopping is not sufficient to remove these hazards, which can compromise floor traction. Employees must be trained in effective floor cleaning and maintenance with the right tools and products.

Restaurant owners and building managers who ignore the current research on floor safety are putting their patrons at unnecessary risk for serious injury, permanent disability or death. Slipping on a low-traction, wet floor can result in a broken bone, bruising, spinal cord damage or traumatic brain injury. An experienced personal injury attorney can investigate the circumstances of your slip-and-fall accident and help you recover the full amount of damages, including medical expenses and lost income.


Common scenes of slip and fall accidents

A slip and fall accident can occur anywhere, but some of the more common locations or situations include the following:

  • Nursing homes — Older people in nursing homes are at greater risk of a slip and fall accident. Sometimes these accidents occur because of neglect or negligence on the part of the nursing home staff, such as when a resident is not properly escorted even though he or she needs it. When this happens, the staff can be held liable for the injuries that result.
  • The workplace — Whether you work in a busy factory or a quiet office, employers are responsible for keeping the environment safe. Recently mopped floors, loose floorboards, sidewalk potholes and other debris can all lead to injuries.
  • Bad weather conditions — Ice, snow and rain are some of the most common weather conditions that cause slip and fall accidents. For this reason, proprietors and municipalities have a legal obligation to keep their streets, steps and walkways cleared and safe for visitors.
  • Construction sites — Pedestrians and workers alike can be injured at construction sites when Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) regulations are not followed, equipment malfunctions, debris is left out, or cracks and potholes go uncovered.

You can avoid some slip and fall accidents by wearing appropriate footwear and remaining aware of your surroundings. Don’t assume that just because the law requires proprietors to keep their properties safe and well maintained that they will comply. In the event that you or a loved one is injured in an accident that resulted from property owner negligence in Santa Barbara, California, consult Steven P. Roberts Personal Injury Lawyers.


Premises liability public falls

Although it can be embarrassing to fall in public in front of other people, in the eyes of the law, your falling may not entirely be your fault. In most cases, if you fall and injure yourself in a public place, the liability for your injuries rests with the premises owner. And, while it is important to seek legal assistance in determining liability, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of how fault is determined under the law.

Premises liability places the responsibility for your safety in the hands of the premises owner. If the owner has failed to address or remove potential hazards that contributed to your injury, it may constitute a negligent act. Some examples of these types of hazards include icy walkways, inadequately lighted stairways, falling objects or slick surfaces.

If there is a reasonable expectation that the premises owner had prior knowledge of any hazards that contributed to your injury, that person may be found negligent. In addition, the premises owner has a responsibility to deliver adequate warning of any known hazards on the property. If the owner has failed to do so, you may be entitled to damages to cover any medical expenses or lost wages you experience due to your personal injury.

After sustaining an injury as the result of a fall on public or private premises, you should immediately seek dependable legal representation. It may be that your fall is the result of negligence on the part of the premises owner, and a skilled California lawyer can help you pursue any damages from property owners or their insurance companies.