Trampoline parks are a popular form of entertainment and exercise. The trend in recent decades has been towards indoor facilities. Parks such as Sky Zone, Jump Street, and Get Air are popular for toddlers, children, and adults. Trampoline parks are especially popular for birthday parties.
Trampolines are inherently dangerous. The fundamental aim is to bounce off the trampoline into the air. Once in the air, jumpers twist and turn, which causes them to bounce off the trampoline entirely or to land in a way that can cause sprains, strains, cuts, bruises, broken bones, and other injuries.
Trampoline parks have numerous rules to try to limit the harm to jumpers. The parks usually also require that jumpers sign liability waivers to protect the owners from liability if a jumper is injured.
Common types of trampoline injuries
Even with protective padding (including wall padding) and nets, emergency rooms across Colorado see more than their fair share of trampoline injuries. Common trampoline injuries include:
- Foot Injuries. Sprained ankles are fairly common. Fractures require immediate care.
- Broken bones. Many jumpers break bones in their lower extremities, especially the ankles. Breaks of a jumper’s forearm or elbow are also common.
- Spinal cord injuries. These injuries are among the most harmful. Spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis, nerve damage, and a lifetime of chronic pain.
- Head trauma and skull injuries. These injuries usually occur if a jumper lands on his/her head or strikes the metal frame. Concussions may be due to jumpers colliding heads with other jumpers. Flips and other types of dangerous jumps can easily cause head and neck injuries.
In the most tragic cases, a jumper can die due to a trampoline accident.
Teenagers are often most at risk for serious injuries because they tend to push the boundaries of safety more than other age groups.
Some of the rules trampoline park owners require
Common trampoline rules according to one trampoline park, Urban Air Adventure Park, are:
- Don’t jump if you have health problems.
- “Only jump on the trampolines, do not jump or land on padding or platform. The pads are hard and can cause injuries to your feet, knees, back, and ankles.”
- Jump and land on both feet – “with legs apart, knees bent, and arms in front of you.”
- Don’t jump on other people.
- “If falling, try to land on your back or “ball up”. The key is to keep your arms close to your body to avoid twisting your wrists or injuring our arms /elbows /shoulders.”
- Don’t do flips, tricks, or inverts.
- Don’t rough-house or wrestle.
- Don’t use “foreign” objects on the trampoline court – balls, phones, cameras, etc.
- “NO shoes allowed on trampolines”
- Many other rules
What is a Waiver of Liability?
Trampoline parks routinely require that jumpers and the parents of minor children sign liability waiver forms. These forms are drafted by the trampoline park owners for the sole purpose of protecting the liability park owners. If the form is found to be valid, then if you or your child are injured while in the trampoline park, you will not be permitted to file a personal injury lawsuit against the trampoline park owners.
Your remedies are basically limited to asking your own health insurance company to pay the medical bills subject to any deductibles and copays.
When you can file a claim, even with a waiver
Generally, waivers are valid/effective if the trampoline park was negligent. There are some exceptions though:
- Gross negligence. A legal claim can be filed against the trampoline park if they were grossly negligent. Gross negligence essentially means the park purposely, recklessly, wantonly, or with complete disregard for your safety – failed to take appropriate safety measures.
- A failure to post rules and regulations may be considered gross negligence.
- A failure to take safety precautions that other trampoline parks regularly take may be considered gross negligence.
- A failure to correct defects in the trampoline canvas that the park knew about may be gross negligence.
- Not employing staff to monitor the jumping may be gross negligence.
- Park designs that are inherently dangerous – jumpers are clearly likely to fall – may constitute gross negligence.
- The agreement is not clearly written. Agreements that are ambiguous as to what actions will result in a waiver or as to your rights if there is an accident – may be considered invalid and thus unenforceable.
- Injuries to children. The majority of trampoline park customers are children. Generally, a waiver signed by a minor is not enforceable. A waiver signed by a parent on behalf of a minor child is generally enforceable.
An experienced Colorado lawyer will assert these defenses to waiver forms. Your lawyer will also explain if a spouse who doesn’t sign a waiver has any legal rights if their spouse does sign the waiver.
If the waiver is unenforceable, then you have the right to file a legal claim on behalf of yourself or an injured child for:
- Payment for all your medical bills
- The pain and suffering due to the fall
- Any lost income
- Any scarring or disfigurement due to the injuries
As a general rule, all waiver forms are judged closely. The consumer has no right to negotiate the waiver form. For this reason, if there is any ambiguity or any question about the enforceability of the waiver, courts will generally rule against the trampoline park owner.
Get help from a premier Colorado injury lawyer
At the Law Office of Anna L. Burr, LLC, we fight aggressively to hold defendants such as trampoline owners liable for the injuries they accuse. We assert all legal and factual arguments available to support your right to file a lawsuit and your right to damages for your injuries. In many cases, trampoline parks are grossly negligent. If you or your child were hurt at a trampoline park, you may have the right to file a legal claim if the company has your waiver on file. To discuss your case, contact me online or call 720-500-2076 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.