Trampoline parks are more popular than ever before. As more families and teens spend their time bouncing at the park, parents wonder about trampoline park safety. In a seven-year period, emergency medical personnel responded to 44 calls from trampoline parks. Six people died from their injuries in the same time period. Here’s what you need to know about trampoline park liability and safety from our Massachusetts accident attorneys.
Are trampoline park waivers enforceable in Massachusetts?
Trampoline park waivers are sometimes enforceable in Massachusetts. Generally, waivers that protect the company from legal liability are enforceable including for trampoline parks. However, trampoline park liability still exists if the actions of the park are reckless or intentionally harmful. In other words, waivers are usually enforceable, but not always.
Trampoline park safety in Massachusetts and legal rights
Accidents that happen at trampoline parks in Massachusetts fall under state tort law. Generally, the rule is that the person responsible for the accident pays for it. Even though most accidents don’t happen intentionally, plenty of accidents happen because of carelessness. The legal term for carelessness is negligence. Generally, under accident laws in Massachusetts, the party who causes the accident through their negligence is the party that has to pay for the damages.
However, Massachusetts law allows the people who go to trampoline parks to waive their liability for ordinary negligence. The trampoline park can say that, as a condition of using the facility, you agree to waive your legal rights for an accident that occurs because of their negligence. For ordinary negligence, a waiver like that is enforceable. However, for extreme misconduct, a waiver doesn’t get rid of legal liability for the trampoline park. In order to determine whether you have a legal claim, you must investigate how the accident occurred.
Massachusetts legal cases
The Massachusetts courts set the precedent for the enforceability of legal waivers when it decided the Sharon v. City of Newton case in 2002. In the Sharon case, the victim was injured during cheerleading practice. The defendant, the City of Newton, sponsored the cheerleading team. The victim’s parents signed a waiver before she participated with the cheerleading team.
The City of Newton brought up the waiver as a defense to the victim’s claims. The victim said that it wasn’t fair to enforce the waiver. She said that if she didn’t sign the waiver, she wouldn’t be able to participate with the cheerleading team. She claimed she signed the waiver under duress.
The court ruled that the waiver was enforceable. They said that each participant had the choice to sign the waiver or not. The Sharon ruling established the precedent in Massachusetts that liability waivers are generally enforceable.
Exceptions to waivers for trampoline park injuries
Even though the Sharon court ruled that liability waivers are generally enforceable, there are still some exceptions for trampoline park safety problems. In Massachusetts, an accident victim can still hold the trampoline park responsible for very poor conduct. In order for the trampoline park to be liable, employees or representatives of the park must act recklessly or intentionally. These exceptions exist in order to give the park an incentive in order to operate in a safe manner. They also ensure principles of fairness in holding the wrongdoers accountable when an accident occurs because of extreme disregard for safety.
How can a lawyer help with a trampoline park accident?
A lawyer can help you with your trampoline park accident by examining the case in order to determine your legal rights. If you have a valid claim, they can take the steps to make the claim on your behalf. They know what kinds of things can maximize your compensation and what mistakes can prevent you from getting the compensation that you deserve. Together, you can work to enforce trampoline park safety and get the recovery that you deserve after an accident.