Can a Trampoline Park Waiver Really Waive Liability?

If your child has been injured at a trampoline park, even if you have signed a waiver, you still may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact a Florida personal injury attorney today to discuss the details of your case.

Alexandra Karob-Volpina is a typical active teen. In home videos she was often seen performing ballet dances and showing off her gymnastic skills. She says she used to do all kinds of things, aerials, back flips, and more. But now, the 13-year-old says life is much different.

Two years ago, she was bouncing around at a trampoline park when someone ran by and jumped on her ankle. It was crushed, and she was rushed to urgent care. Over the past two years, nearly 300 calls were made in south Florida to 911 for falls and injuries at trampoline parks. In at least 70 of the incidents, paramedics were required.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that trampoline park injuries have increased tenfold over the last four years. Karob-Volpina and her family filed a lawsuit against Off the Wall, the trampoline park where she was injured. Their lawsuit is one of 12 that have been filed against the company. The claims say that the park failed to have adequate supervision that resulted in the injuries.

Off the Wall claims that it was the teen’s own actions that resulted in her injuries, and that they cannot be held liable because her dad signed a waiver the day she was injured. Not only does the waiver say that they can not be held responsible for injuries and accidents, it also says that if a claim is filed against the business, if the plaintiff loses the suit, they have to pay the attorney fees for the park’s attorneys.

Trampoline Parks Not as Innocent as They Appear

While trampoline parks seem like a fun, innocent place for kids to enjoy an afternoon, there are a variety of ways that a kid can get injured. However, when an injury occurs, you may not be able to sue the owner of the trampoline park unless you can prove negligence. You would have to prove that they breached a duty of care that resulted in injuries to your child.

What About a Waiver?

Most trampoline parks have waivers that are worded nearly identically, but just because you signed a waiver of liability does not necessarily mean that you can not sue. Sometimes the waivers only waive injuries that result from inherent risks of the activities, such as a sprained ankle. However, the waiver may not include risks that resulted from the negligent acts of the operator. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to review the waiver and determine what your rights may be.

Additionally, Florida statutes have an express exception when it comes to a waiver for a minor child. While pre-injury liability waivers can be signed by a parent and can be enforceable against minor children, they can only be enforced in non-commercial context, such as community events and school. If the waiver is for commercial use, such as a for-profit trampoline park, the waiver is not always enforceable.

What do I Need to do if My Child is Injured?

If your child has been injured in a trampoline park accident, it is imperative that you get in contact with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident occurs. A personal injury attorney will be able to review the facts of your case and advise you of what options may be available to you.

In order to file a lawsuit against a trampoline park, you and your attorney will need to be able to prove the following:

  • Duty: You will have to prove that the party you are suing had a duty to provide a safe experience for your child.
  • Breach of Duty: You must prove that the responsible party failed to provide that safe experience therefore breaching their duty.
  • Causation: You will have to prove that due to the breach of duty, your child suffered injuries.
  • Damages: You must prove that the injuries your child suffered from resulted in actual damages.

Who can be Held Responsible?

When a child is injured at a trampoline park, there are a variety of parties that could be found negligent for the injuries. They include the following:

  • Owner/Operator of the Business: If the injury occurs due to improper maintenance, repairs, or supervision, the operator/owner of the business could be the responsible party.
  • Manufacturer of the Trampolines: If the equipment itself was faulty and resulted in injuries to your child, you could have a defective product case rather than a personal injury lawsuit.

Florida’s Recreational Use Statute

Being responsible for constantly maintaining, monitoring, and making public premises safe for the public can be a deterrent for anyone considering opening a business. Because of this, the Sunshine state implemented the recreational use statute which limits the liability of any private owner of parks, water areas, or land if the areas are available for public use without charge. This statute allows property owners the option of now keeping areas safe or warning people of possible dangers of entering the property.

This means that entrants to the area are assuming the risk of entry, the owner has no duty of care toward a person who enters and is not liable or responsible for injuries that take place on the property.

There are, however, two exceptions. If the owner has a contract with the state to provide use of the area, the state may have agreed to accept liability for injuries that take place. The other exception is when the owner of the private property accepts economic benefit from the use of the land even if they do not charge admission, such as selling souvenirs, food, or rides on the property.

The Bottom Line

Do not just assume that because a waiver was signed, you do not have a case if your child was injured at a trampoline park. There may be ways that negligence can be proven, and you should not have to pay if someone else is responsible for your child’s injuries.

The attorneys at Brill & Rinaldi can review the specific details of your case and determine the best possible course of action. Not only will you possibly keep from having to empty out your bank accounts to pay for medical expenses, but you could keep other kids from getting hurt in the same way that your child did.