Las Vegas Jury Returns $20M Verdict in Playground Injury Case

The last thing a parent wants is for his or her child to be hurt. This is especially true if the injury happens on a playground - a place where children should be safe to play. That is exactly what happened in 2013 to a 15-year-old when he sat down on a swing set in Lamplight Village at Centennial Springs to send a text message from his phone. The crossbar broke, dropping 42 pounds of solid metal onto his head. The fall crushed the left side of the teenager’s skull, resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Earlier this year, a Clark County District Court jury returned a $20M verdict on the young man’s case, according to a news article published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Playground Case

The jury found the Lamplight Village at Centennial Springs Homeowners Association (HOA) responsible for the teenager’s injuries. It awarded $10 million in compensatory damages for pain and suffering, and an additional $10 million in punitive damages, as punishment to the defendant. The HOA’s insurance policy limit is $2 million. The victim, who is now 20, suffers from numerous cognitive issues as well as headaches and anxiety.

According to the victim’s lawyers, the HOA was negligent in maintaining the playground equipment. In fact, there had been four prior incidents where  the top bar of the swing set had fallen including one time after the HOA had welded the piece back. The manufacturer allegedly advised the HOA that the swing set needed to be professionally inspected and maintained. Moreover, the HOA was offered an inspection plan for the playground - on three separate occasions—for just $150.00 per month. The HOA declined the plan, citing the cost, although it had 300 homes from which it could pull the nominal monthly fee.

Negligence in Personal Injury Cases

Determining who was is at fault in a personal injury case and, ultimately, who is financially responsible to pay monetary compensation to the victim can be complicated. Generally, it rests on proving whether someone or some entity was careless or negligent. Legal liability in personal injury claims is generally governed by the theory of negligence. To be successful in proving negligence, the harmed victim must establish that:

  • There was a legal duty owed to the victim by the defendant;

  • The defendant breached this duty by acting, or failing to act, in a certain manner;

  • The defendant’s breach was the actual and legal cause of the victim’s injuries;

  • The victim’s injuries resulted in damages.

Sometimes, if the victim is partially at fault for the accident, his or her monetary compensation may be reduced - or completely eliminated - under applicable law. In Nevada, the comparative negligence theory is followed. This is often also called comparative fault, modified comparative negligence, modified comparative fault, or shared fault. Simply put, Nevada law states that a victim may recover monetary compensation proportional to his or her contribution to the accident or injury as long as the victim is less than 50% responsible for the accident or injury.

Legal Help in Nevada

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Las Vegas accident due to the negligence of another, contact the compassionate and skilled personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau. They can help guide you through this difficult process and seek the compensation to which you are entitled under applicable law.

(image courtesy of Aaron Burden)