Before a fun day on a snowy hill turns into a ride to the emergency room, click here to learn more about sledding risks and liability.

Who is liable for my child’s injuries if he was hurt while sledding?

 

A:

child sledding accidentsCities are generally responsible for restricting potentially dangerous activities to protect their citizens from harm and to guard against costly lawsuits. As a result, many cities across the nation are preemptively closing down popular sledding hills to keep children and families from suffering any mishaps. Other cities are limiting their liability by designating specific hills as “city sledding-approved,” as long as the hill is situated far away from brush, trees, roads, and other potential hazards.

Unfortunately, despite warnings and threats to ban the activity, every year thousands of children are seriously injured when they lose control of their sleds and careen down slippery slopes. When this occurs, liability may be assigned based on the following three factors:

  • Ownership. Who owns the property where the accident occurred? Property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises relatively safe and free from potential hazards. If the location of your accident was in a designtated sledding hill in a public park, for instance, the city had a duty to make sure that hill was properly maintained. However, when pursuing an injury case against a property owner, you must be able to prove that it was a failure to maintain the grounds that caused the accident, not your child’s own recklessness.
  • Permission. Did you have the right to sled in that area? When you have permission to enter a property for that purpose, the owner is again legally required to ensure the property is safe and free of hazards. However, if you’re not invited or have been warned to stay away from an area, whether or not it’s an ideal place to sled, the owner isn’t required to ensure your safety.
  • Assumption of risk. When you make the choice to allow your child to participate in an inherently risky activity such as sledding, you assume responsibility for those risks. However, this assumed responsibility doesn't apply to unknown dangers. If your injuries occurred as a result of an old lawnmower blade or protruding stumps hidden by snow, for example, the property owner could be liable as a result of neglect.

Sledding Risks

Each year, approximately 45,000 children are seen and treated in emergency rooms following sledding accidents in the United States. Common injuries include:

  • Broken bones and torn muscles. In many cases, the victim of a sledding accident is injured by colliding into an object such as a tree, rock, or another person. The force of these collisions can easily snap bones, tear muscles, and significantly bruise tissue.
  • Traumatic spinal cord and brain injuries. Collisions with objects can also lead to traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord damage, resulting in permanent disability or paralysis.

Considering the danger involved, it’s extremely important that you not only monitor your children as they sled but also monitor the surrounding areas to ensure their path is clear.

Attorney Andrew Kim Can Help Determine Liability

If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries as a result of a public sledding accident, we may be able to help. Contact or office today to schedule your FREE case evaluation. We won't let you lose control of your case or slide into an insurance nightmare. Give us a call or contact us through our convenient chat feature to take back control of your future.