May 18, 2019
In the wake of reports of numerous fatal and otherwise serious trampoline park accidents, a US senator is sponsoring legislation to hold owners of trampoline parks accountable for injuries that occur at their facilities. The indoor parks have grown drastically in popularity over the past 8 years, but still, there is no federal oversight to ensure the parks are safe for users.
Furthermore, park users are often forced to sign a waiver that forces them to take any claims to mandatory arbitration, preventing them from having their cases heard in court.
Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and leg injuries occur all too often at these parks, with no one ensuring the facilities or equipment are safe for use.
At Cutter Law, we are deeply committed to fighting to ensure trampoline park owners are held accountable for failing to provide safe, hazard-free premises.
Senator Blumenthal Looks to Hold Trampoline Parks Accountable
Concerned by the lack of responsibility in the trampoline park industry and the high number of serious, life-changing injuries, Sen. Richard Blumenthal sponsored the Fair Act, which would prevent companies from enforcing arbitration clauses when consumers have claims against them.
“Congress should have a role here … but the biggest deterrent to death and injury at these parks will be the park owners being hauled into court, held responsible, deemed culpable, having to pay,” Blumenthal said.
Some states have begun enacting regulations, with Utah and at least seven other states mandating increased oversight through insurance companies or regular inspections.
Multiple Deaths and Severe Injuries at Trampoline Parks
A CBS report found that the parks are responsible for at least six deaths and numerous severe injuries. The total number of deaths and trampoline park injuries is likely impossible to know because of forced arbitration and confidentiality agreements.
“They’re trying to hide individual deaths, the total number, everything about these injuries that may cast them in a bad light,” Blumenthal said.
Experts say the parks, with multiple trampolines, joined together for bouncing on and massive ball pits to jump into, are inherently dangerous and put users at risk of catastrophic injuries. Among the trampoline park hazards:
- Too many people jumping on one trampoline, causing too much force and resulting in fractures
- Smaller children jumping next to adults, increasing the risk of serious injury
- Thin padding over the floor or connecting cables, which can increase the risk of injury
- Trampolines too close to walls or other hazards that can cause brain injuries
- Ball pits that are too shallow, causing leg, hip, or spine injuries
Ric Swezey was a champion gymnast and did work as a stuntman, but a trampoline park accident resulted in Swezey hitting his head against a wall, cracking his vertebra and constricting his airway. He died from his trampoline park injury.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that almost 18,000 ER visits in 2017 were linked to trampoline parks, compared to 2,500 ER visits in 2013.
Wisconsin Senator Pushes for Industry Legislation
Wisconsin State Sen. Chris Larson weighed in on the trampoline park debate after his four-year-old daughter suffered a fractured tibia at a park. Looking into the matter, Larson learned there were no federal or Wisconsin regulations covering the industry. He also noted that although he signed a waiver to use the park, when he asked to see the waiver after the accident, he had difficulty obtaining it.
Larson said he is looking into amending the definition of amusement or thrill rides so trampoline parks would be included under the same regulations.
Despite forced arbitration agreements, some victims have filed lawsuits against the parks, alleging negligence on the part of the park owners. In some cases, the negligence involves the park’s design or maintenance, in others it involves violations of park rules that employees do not enforce, such as only having one jumper on a trampoline at a time.
We believe that the only way trampoline park owners will take safety seriously is if they are held accountable for not ensuring their businesses are appropriately hazard-free. In situations where children or adults are harmed due to negligence, failure to maintain properly, or dangerous design, trampoline park owners must be forced to pay their price for their actions.
If you or someone you love was harmed in a trampoline park accident, contact an attorney at Cutter Law today. Our attorneys will explain your rights and ensure you make an informed decision about how to proceed. We are committed to getting justice for you.