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Playground Accident Claims

If your child is the victim of a playground-related injury that wasn’t their fault, you could be entitled to claim compensation.

Compensation for Public Playground Accidents

The sight of children playing outside in the fresh air and having fun in a public playground is refreshing in the digital age where many children spend hours in front of screens.

Playgrounds are enjoying somewhat of a resurgence, with local authorities and other organisations investing in a diverse range of equipment in their play areas.

Your local public playground may now have static outdoor gym equipment, modern swings, climbing equipment, a sunken trampoline – and even a table tennis table. Multi-sports equipment and multi-use game areas in council parks are also increasingly widespread.

But whilst council investment in playgrounds is excellent news for children – and adults wanting to keep fit for free – local authorities have to work hard to comply with legislation to ensure the equipment and play areas are safe to use.

To find out more about making a playground injury claim, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

Playground injuries happen, but if someone’s at fault, you’re entitled to make a claim

Children are active and can be naturally accident prone, so it’s common for every parent to spend some time in the accident and emergency department. While many injuries are caused by rough play or general clumsiness, there might be a time when your child’s injuries result from negligence.

Playground accident claims usually happen because there’s sufficient proof that the playground owners neglected to create a safe environment. In most cases, people claim compensation from their local council, the child’s school or a private playground.

Personal injury solicitors will only take on your case if they feel the playground owner was negligent. For example, if your child decided to jump from a climbing frame and broke their arm, that would be due to clumsiness, but if the climbing frame was unstable and the child fell, you could make a claim.

The causes of playground injury claims

According to the ROSPA, there are around 40,000 playground-related hospital visits annually in the UK. While some of these admissions are due to human error and a lack of parental supervision, many occur due to negligence from the local council, schools, or private playground owners.

Here are the most common playground accident causes:

  • Tripping over obstacles that are in the way
  • Dangerous fencing around the area, such as barbed wire or untreated wood
  • Sharp objects such as nails sticking out of equipment
  • Unsafe equipment due to improper maintenance
  • Broken apparatus that hasn’t been replaced
  • Missing steps on ladders or climbing equipment
  • Loose handles or seating

The most common causes of playground accident claims are playground equipment.

During 2018/2019, there were 8,410 hospital admissions following falls from playground equipment, and 7,456 were emergencies.

When looking at age groups, the most accident-prone were children aged 5-9 (4,370 were admitted), while 1,860 children aged between 1 and 4 were following playground falls.

The most dangerous playground equipment by injury prevalence:

  • Swings: 40%
  • Climbing Frames: 23%
  • Slides: 21%
  • Roundabouts: 5%
  • Seesaws: 4%
  • Other Equipment: 7%

Are you eligible to make a playground accident claim?

If your child has been injured in a playground, you might be able to make a compensation claim on behalf of them, but it’s best to check your eligibility before filing.

If you can prove that:

  • The authority or person who owns the playground is negligent (e.g. poor apparatus maintenance).
  • You claim within the timeframe. In most cases, you must file in the first three years after the accident, but there are some exceptions for claims involving children.
  • A medical professional can vouch for your child’s injuries, and you can provide medical evidence.

Let’s take a look at other factors that will influence your claim.

Did the councils neglect their duty of care?

Every local authority responsible for public playgrounds has a legal responsibility to manage the risks associated with the play equipment and the broader area, including fencing and surfaces.

Local authorities must ensure children and others using public playgrounds are not exposed to an unacceptable risk of harm. Whilst they cannot prevent every possible accident and injury to a child playing in a public playground (this would be an impossibility), they have a legal duty to comply with the law, and related safety standards, that exist to minimise the risk to playground users.

Even in the planning stage of a public playground area, the local authority must ensure the final design and layout will be translated into a safe playground.

Were the local authorities breaching their legal requirements?

Your local authority has a statutory duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure the health and safety of public playground users so far as is reasonably practicable.

Under the Occupiers Liability Act, they must also ensure that playground areas have the correct and appropriate signs, including contact details of whom to report accidents. Local authorities must also comply with stringent health and safety standards relating to free access to multi-sports equipment, which includes safety and test methods.

They must also comply with safety standards relating to publicly accessible outdoor exercise equipment, which outline the safety requirements for permanently installing outdoor fitness and exercise equipment.

All equipment must be of good quality and installed according to strict safety requirements to make it safe, including using suitable impact-absorbing surfacing. The local authority should inspect the playground annually and undertake risk assessments.

If the local authority is notified of a problem with a piece of playground equipment – they must carry out the necessary repair work within a reasonable period (taking appropriate measures to prevent anyone from accessing that equipment in the meantime).

If they don’t, and someone is injured while using it, the local authority will probably be liable for those injuries.

The playground personal injury claims process

If you’re eligible to claim compensation on behalf of your child, it’s essential to seek legal support immediately. A specialist personal injury solicitor will be able to represent you and your child, ensuring you get the best possible outcome.

As you’re claiming for your child, your solicitor will need to use the Litigation Friend procedure. Children cannot represent themselves, so you’ll be responsible for filing the claim and gathering all necessary evidence.

Litigation friends ensure the child understands the process and keeps them informed about how things proceed. Furthermore, if you reach a settlement agreement or the court rules in your favour, the money will be held in a trust for your child until their 18th birthday.

However, in some cases, you can petition the court for some of the funds, but only if you can prove that the money will benefit your child.

Get in touch with Claims UK

If you’d like to discuss your eligibility, then it’s best to call a claims advisor to discuss the accident in detail.

To find out more about making a playground injury claim, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

Meet with a ‘no win, no fee’* solicitor

If you’re making a playground accident compensation claim, a no win, no fee solicitor is the best solution because you don’t pay a penny unless your claim is successful. No win, no fee claims are ideal, as a solicitor won’t take on your case unless they believe you’ll receive a cash settlement.

Gather evidence of physical or psychological injuries sustained

The most critical step in any private or public playground accident claim is gathering evidence of your child’s injuries. It’s best to act immediately because if you can prove the equipment was faulty or there were dangerous obstructions, your claim will likely be successful.

Taking photographs of the accident scene is essential, as is gathering evidence from your child’s doctor or the hospital.

Your solicitor will also work on obtaining evidence, and you should also detail all losses of earnings through your child being off school or you missing work due to hospital appointments.

Your solicitor will present the case to the negligent party

Once your solicitor has all the necessary evidence, they’ll arrange to meet with the playground owner/authority and begin settlement negotiations.

In many cases, they’ll want to settle out of court – especially if there’s proof of faulty playground equipment, but you might also have to go to court.

If you do have to attend court, the judge will rule in your favour if they think you’re entitled to compensation, but many negligent parties will settle out of court to avoid drawing out the process.

You pay your solicitor a portion of the compensation

Once you win your claim, the solicitor will take their fee out of the compensation, and the rest will go into a trust for your child.

If you want to use some of the money immediately, you’ll have to explain why you want the money and what it will be used for, as the compensation is protected until your child turns 18.

Get free advice from the personal injury claim helpline today

To find out more about making a playground injury claim, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

Once you’ve spoken with a legal advisor, they’ll put you in touch with a specialist solicitor so you can begin the claims process. Compensation can create a better future for your child, especially if the injuries cause long-term effects that might restrict their daily life.

By working with a no win, no fee solicitor, you can claim the money your child is entitled to and prevent others from becoming injured due to negligence again.

To find out more, speak to a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438.

Playground accident claims FAQs

How much compensation could I receive?

Your compensation depends on how well your solicitor argues your case and your child’s injuries. For example, if your child suffers a broken arm but recovers fully after six weeks, you might be entitled to a small payment.

However, if your child has a severe break and needs physiotherapy, the amount you receive could be larger.

The claims process also considers how the injury has impacted your child’s daily activities, the emotional impact, your loss of earnings and the costs of carers of specialist equipment for disabilities.

There’s no way to say how much your child would get, so it’s best to speak to a solicitor.

Can my child claim at a later date?

There are some exceptions to the three-year claims limit; if your child is under 18, they can wait to make a claim when they come of age. However, it might be hard to provide evidence years later, so parents or guardians should take the initiative.

Why should I contact Claims UK first?

You want to know whether your child is entitled to personal injury compensation after suffering an accident at a playground, so get in touch today. The legal advisor you speak to will evaluate your claim and advise whether they think you’ll be eligible to claim compensation.

To find out more about making a playground injury claim, get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in one of the secure contact forms and they’ll call you back.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

When you submit your details, you'll be in safe hands. Our partners are National Accident Helpline (a brand of National Accident Law, a firm of personal injury solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority). They are the UK's leading personal injury service. Their friendly legal services advisers will call you to talk about your claim and give you free, no-obligation advice. National Accident Law may pay us a marketing fee for our services.

By submitting your personal data, you agree for your details to be sent to National Accident Law so they can contact you to discuss your claim.

If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.