Determining if You Have a Viable Lawsuit
No honest lawyer can ever guarantee that you have a lawsuit against a trampoline park that will definitely win. However, Michigan has laws that “may” allow for a lawsuit against a trampoline park for its negligence. The word “may” would be enough for us to investigate a potential claim on behalf of our children, and it should be for you too. You may have signed a waiver. That waiver that you scribbled your name on while your child was pulling on your pant leg may be a problem for your case and it may not.
There is nothing more important than your child’s health and future. We understand. We are parents too. Trampoline parks often try to intimidate parents and mislead them into believing they can’t file a lawsuit on behalf of their child. It may not be true.
If you would like to read and do their own research, keep reading. There is some of relevant (albeit dense and sometimes boring) law in Michigan relating to waivers, trampoline park injuries, trampoline park injury lawsuits in Michigan, and negligence.
You may instead feel free to call us now to see if we can do the investigating for you. Not all cases are the same, and if you do not have a case, we certainly won’t waste your time or ours. But if you have a case, we will tell you that too so you can do what’s right for your child’s health, well-being, and long-term security.
A waiver is a legal document that attempts to bar a lawsuit you or your child may have against the establishment. Here’s the reality of the waiver you probably signed: “Mom! Dad! Let’s go!!!” “Ok, let me scroll through this iPad real fast and initial so we can go into the trampoline park.” The document may have said you are barred in any claim you or your child may have had against the trampoline park, it may have suggested you may consult legal counsel before signing away your child’s rights. You probably never had the thought to call an attorney before signing the document. If you’re like most people, you didn’t read the whole waiver. The good news is that none of this completely bars a possible lawsuit.
Most businesses use a standard waiver form. This may cover negligence, it may not. Most likely, the trampoline park waivers try to give as much power to the parks and owners as possible, leaving you and your child to fend for yourselves. These waivers include the negligent acts of a trampoline park employee or others that causes even a catastrophic injury of you or your child. Yes, you read that right, you may have waived the negligent act of a trampoline park that resulted in a catastrophic injury or death to your child.
If you are signing on behalf of your child, your child didn’t get to make the decision. The waiver may not be valid. Our children of extensions of ourselves, but they have their own rights.
Does the waiver bar my lawsuit?
The short answer is….maybe. We know that’s frustrating to hear, but it’s better than a “No, you don’t have a lawsuit against the jump park.”
Michigan law generally allows for a waiver to be enforced against an adult. Yet, as with anything in the law, there are exceptions. The law in Michigan is complicated and has been changing over the last few years. In 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court held in Woodman v. Kera held that parental waivers were “unenforceable.” The Court stated that the ability to sign a pre-injury waiver on behalf of their child was in contradiction with Michigan Common Law, and without the Court’s approval prior to signing, these waivers would be tossed out.
However, only a year after the Woodman case, SkyZone started lobbying the legislature for a new law. SkyZone franchise owner Brent Breems explained in a local business journal, “When we put that investment into it, we want to have some protection that says, if we’re doing our job, then the lawsuits or the opportunity for lawsuits, that process isn’t easy if it’s for instance a frivolous lawsuit.”
Ironically (or not), what these trampoline park owners won’t tell you is that the law does not apply to negligent actions of the trampoline park owner, staff, or defective equipment. That means that if a staff member, park owner or operator, or court monitor, acts negligently, the waiver may not apply. Negligence can be as simple as “failing to take proper care in doing something.” This could be something as simple as failing to give proper directions, failing to give adequate warnings, failing to supervise , and many other things.
“So what does this mean for me and my child?”
If you think that someone at the trampoline or jump park may have been negligent in any way, and it caused an injury to your child, it’s worth contacting an attorney to discuss the situation as soon as possible.
Trampoline Park Injuries
Michigan is one of two states that have implemented laws specifically for safety requirements for trampoline parks. (Yes, that’s right, at the time of this publication in 2018, only 2 out of 50 states have specific laws requiring jump parks to follow certain safety guidelines.) There is, therefore, is a slightly clearer picture for whether you have a case. Guidelines that are broken by negligent actions of a jump park employee, that could lead to a potential lawsuit against the park for the injuries sustained by your child.
The Trampoline Park Safety Act passed in 2014 gives guidelines and requirements for park owners and employees to follow. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/mcl/archive/2014/May/mcl-Act-11-of-2014.pdf
In fact, many reviews from Detroit trampoline parks and some from other parts of Michigan say (some of) the parks are “too strict” and “enforce too many rules.” We commend these parks for trying to do what’s right for your child. However, not all parks are doing it and even the good parks aren’t doing it all the time.
How dangerous are trampoline parks? A Children’s Hospital of Michigan pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ahmed Bazzi, said: “Just today alone I had three trampoline injuries. When I am on call on a typical summer weekend, I am almost guaranteed to have something that needs surgery from either trampolines or monkey bars. Those are kind of the two things that earn you a ticket to the OR, unfortunately.” https://www.metroparent.com/daily/health-fitness/kids-safety-urgent-care/major-risks-common-injuries-trampolines/
Dr. Bazzi also went on to say that there is an increased risk among young children, serious injuries are common with the head and neck, including paralysis and lifelong complications.
Detroit Trampoline Parks and Park Lawsuits
You may remember this story of a serious trampoline park injury in the Detroit area.
The following is merely a list of trampoline parks in the Detroit area. Not all of them have been sued. We do not have statistics specifically broken out for Detroit trampoline park lawsuits. We encourage you to read the reviews from parents like yourselves.
– AirTime Trampoline Park in Westland, MI
– AirTime Trampoline Park in Troy, MI
– SkyZone Trampoline Park in Troy, MI
– SkyZone Trampoline Park in Canton, MI
– AirTime Trampoline Park in Sterling Heights, MI
– Zap Zone Trampoline Park in Sterling Heights, MI
– DEFY Trampoline Park in Detroit, MI
– SkyZone Trampoline Park in Taylor, MI
– SkyZone Trampoline Park in Taylor, MI