The “Sunshine State” is generally great. Filled with beaches, golf courses, and Disney World. However, Florida is also home to hundreds of trampoline park injuries each year. If your child was injured in a trampoline park accident, and you believe someone else was negligent, you may be able to sue. However, Florida waiver law, like most other states, is nuanced and full of grey areas. The importance of contacting an attorney well-versed in waivers and trampoline park lawsuits is critical.
Florida Trampoline Park Waivers
The actual waiver is dense, difficult to read, and likely required your signature that you agree to waive “all liability of the trampoline park, its assigns, agents, and employees.” But what does it really mean? It means that you agreed that even if the worst possible scenario happens, and it may have already, that you won’t sue the trampoline park where the injury happened. When it comes to waivers, language is critical. The law dictates what language has to be used in exculpatory agreements or waivers, and if the waiver does not use the required language, it may be invalid. Without seeing the actual waiver that you signed, we have no way of knowing if the language is within the confines of the law.
Doesn’t the waiver make my lawsuit invalid?
It depends . . .
Generally speaking, Florida sometimes allows for waivers to be admitted into court under certain situations. However, there are several requirements under the law that the waiver must include. First, the waiver is only valid for “inherent risks of the activity.” Florida has laid out specific guidelines for the enforceability of the waiver. First, the waiver must include specific language. Second, the above quoted text must be in a type that is at least 5 points larger than, and clearly distinguishable from, the entirety of the waiver. Third, the injury must me “inherent” in the activity itself. Since anything can happen on a trampoline, and Florida has not outlined specific injuries that are “inherent” by entering the park, it’s important to speak with an attorney regarding your child’s situation.
As you can tell, Florida waiver law is nuanced and nuanced. We cannot stress the importance of contacting an attorney regarding your situation. Just because the trampoline park forced you to sign a waiver on behalf of your child, releasing all liability, that does not necessarily preclude you from suing.
Trampoline Park Injuries in Florida
Florida is hope to dozens of trampoline parks. Not only do most pediatric orthopedic surgeons advise against trampoline park use, especially for children under a certain age, the 911 calls speak for themselves.
Just in the past 2 years, nearly 300 calls were made in South Florida alone for injuries at trampoline parks! We know that seems like a lot, and it is! The reality is that these parks are dangerous, and your child’s injuries are no different. Of those 300 911 calls, approximately 70 required paramedics to remove the child from the trampoline park by ambulance. https://forpeopleforjustice.com/can-trampoline-park-waiver-really-waive-liability/
That’s once every 10 days that an ambulance is called to a trampoline park because of injuries. Once every 10 days would be a lot for a single state, let alone a single region of a state.
The American Association of Pediatrics released a study that showed trampoline park injuries have increased ten-fold over the last few years. Furthermore, there is no sign of slowing down. New trampoline parks pop-up all the time, as they are looked at as a big profit maker for entrepreneurs and corporations. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2016/07/28/peds.2016-1236.full.pdf
Dr. Kathryn Kasmire, from a Children’s Medical Center, released the data that trampoline park injuries result in a hospital visit more often than home trampoline injuries. Kasmire KE, Rogers SC, Sturm JJ. Trampoline Park and Home Trampoline Injuries. Pediatrics. 2016; 138(3):e20161236.
Just last year, a teenager was jumping on a trampoline when someone landed on her ankle as she was jumping. She had surgery to repair her ankle and may never have the same walk again. https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Trampoline-Parks-Linked-to-Hundreds-of-Injuries-in-South-Florida–488339511.html
Another instance just last year, resulted in a 3-year-old in a body cast after he was injured at a trampoline park in Florida. https://www.ajc.com/news/national/trampolines-are-more-dangerous-than-you-think-read-the-warnings-advice-from-experts/vLomAgmISdicnlIl0tfKvL/
The above are just a sample of some of the hundreds of injuries that happen in Florida over the last few years. If your child was injured, it’s critical to contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss any legal ramifications.
Here’s what real people are saying . . .
One parent said this about a park in the Miami area:
“Horrible staff. The place is dangerous for kids. Nobody is paying attention. Kids jumping on top of other kids, 18 year olds jumping next to 10 year olds. Limited staff and the few that were present were texting and chatting away. There are much better trampoline places in town.”
Another parent said this about a jump park near Orlando:
“Horrible!! Way to overcrowded- an accident waiting to happen! In fact, the main trampoline spot keeps getting closed down for injuries! Coming here was a huge waste of time and money!! My kids spent most of their time waiting around and/or in line to jump or do anything! I will never come back here again!!!! Beware and careful!!!!”
It’s both eye-opening and disheartening that so many folks report overcrowding, unsafe conditions, and poor supervision.
A parent was concerned about their young child at a trampoline park in Tampa Bay:
“We had such a horrible experience today. _____singled out our children. She was mad because our girls were in one square. Meanwhile, there were kids doing all kinds of flips and one big kid practically fell on my 10 year old. The only thing ______ can do is getting 2 kids out of one square. She needs to focus more on the dangerous things that are happening. I won’t be returning.”
A parent reviewed a park in the panhandle:
“BEWARE! UNSAFE! This place should be shutdown! I am too exhausted to go into detail right now but I felt it was important to let others know that this place doesn’t care about the safety of your children, well, all except for one doesn’t care about your children. I will NEVER be back!”