A man from Brainerd, Minnesota suffered an unfortunate accident last August. A day of fun at a local trampoline park ended in a life-altering injury. Anthony Seitz was hopping on a trampoline with his son, when he jumped off into a foam pit designed to catch jumpers in a pit of soft foam balls, breaking their fall and preventing injuries. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Mr. Seitz’s jump. Seitz fell onto the hard ground at the bottom of the foam pit, landing on his neck. Seitz is now paralyzed from the injury. Seitz and his family have since filed a lawsuit against Airmaxx, the trampoline park where he was injured.
The lawsuit alleges that Airmaxx is responsible for Seitz’s injuries. The claim asserts that the foam pit should have been deeper, preventing Seitz from hitting the bottom. A foam pit that does not prevent injuries is not fulfilling its purpose. Minnesota currently does not have any state regulations on how a trampoline park must be constructed and operated. Because of the lack of both, there is a tremendous room for error…and injury.
Many trampoline parks across the country adhere to a set of standards developed by the International Association of Trampoline Parks. This association strives to ensure that trampoline parks have proper safety measures to prevent accidents like this from happening. Airmaxx does not appear to be a member of this organization.
The defense team for the trampoline park has put out a statement claiming that Airmaxx requires all customers to sign a waiver before entering. In spite of this, waivers do not always serve as a total bar to liability, as we have seen before when we discussed injuries at the gym. Waivers may sometimes be too broad, or they may not contain enough detail to properly inform the participant of the risks of a particular activity. The defense also alleges that Seitz was attempting a maneuver that was beyond his skill level, which caused him to suffer the injury.
This case will likely make use of the legal doctrine of premises liability. This branch of the law holds a property owner liable for injuries to guests and visitors to their property for any injuries they may suffer due to a lack of care or maintenance on their property. Individuals who patronize a business, such as Mr. Seitz, are usually classified as invitees. Property owners must keep all areas appropriately maintained and free of hazards for their invitees, in addition to regularly ensuring that the premises remain hazard free. If there is any hazard present for any reason, it must be clearly marked so that invitees can avoid it.
As the case goes on, we can only hope that Anthony Seitz and his family receive the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact Gilman and Bedigian today.