Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a lawsuit that was brought by the parents of a young girl who was injured while playing on a zip-line at her school’s playground. The case required the court to determine if the zip-line constituted a “dangerous condition” under the state’s government immunity statute. Finding that it did not, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit against the school.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff’s daughter was playing on a zip-line in her school playground when she fell to the ground, fracturing her wrist and arm. The parents filed a premises liability lawsuit, claiming that the school was negligent in placing the zip-line in the playground, where children could access it without the assistance of an adult.
Before the case reached trial, the school filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the case based on the school’s asserted government immunity. The state statute at issue provided that a government entity is entitled to immunity from any personal injury lawsuit unless an exception applies. One such exception is the recreational area waiver, which removes immunity when an injury was caused by a “dangerous condition” of any public facility.
In an attempt to get around the school’s claim of immunity, the plaintiffs claimed that the zip-line should be considered a “dangerous condition” under the law, and immunity should not apply.
The Court’s Decision
The court concluded that the zip-line was not a dangerous condition and that the school should be entitled to immunity. The court explained that in order for a plaintiff to establish that a condition is dangerous, there must be some evidence that there was a defect in its design or manufacturing or that the condition was negligently maintained.
Here, the court pointed out that the plaintiffs were relying solely on the argument that zip-lines in general were dangerous. Since the plaintiffs failed to allege or prove that there was anything wrong with the specific zip-line that caused their daughter’s injuries, they could not benefit from the recreational area waiver.
The court also rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the recreational area waiver should apply because the school was negligent in the playground’s design. The court pointed to language in the statute stating that “a dangerous condition shall not exist solely because the design of any facility is inadequate.” As a result of the court’s decision, the plaintiffs will not be able to seek compensation for their daughter’s injuries.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Indiana slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Landowners in Indiana owe a duty to those whom they invite onto their property to make sure that it is reasonably safe. While recreational use immunity may act to prevent some Indiana premises liability lawsuits, the burden rests upon the landowner to prove that immunity should attach, and in many cases, immunity will not be appropriate. To learn more about premises liability law in Indiana, and to speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney about your case, call the personal injury law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse at 888-532-7766.
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