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Old 07-14-2014, 08:10 PM   #1
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Play Dates and Liability

...when it comes to swimming pools and trampolines. Do you ask for signed consent before your child's friend swims in your pool or jumps on your trampoline?

We had a neighbor who required a note from me over these two things for our children to play in her yard a couple summers ago. I was surprised she needed a signature but didn't have any problem with it. There was some trouble with another neighbor boy and his mother awhile back so I guess she is worried about that happening again. Both families have moved away, but now that we own both an above ground pool and large trampoline, I am wondering if I should also be requiring written consent? Or does that seem presumptuous and rude?

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Old 07-14-2014, 09:51 PM   #2
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Re: Play Dates and Liability

I would if the parent was not present. As in a drop in situation. If nothing else, you know the parent has given permission for said child to use these things as there are safety concerns.

My SIL, had a trampoline, and although she didn't require written consent, she did verify with each parent (the kids were in middle school and then later high school) personally that the child was allowed to use the trampoline. One parent in fact did not want her child on it, and my SIL respected that parent's wishes. Made the teenager mad, but he was banned (from coming over) for a month when he didn't obey the rules.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:15 AM   #3
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Re: Play Dates and Liability

Curious, was the note just for your permission to use them or was she asking for a release in liability? Giving permission to use the pool or trampoline doesn't negate liability. Whether or not they have permission from their parent or not would still make you liable. I am not even entirely sure a release specifically about liability would protect the homeowner 100%. Its not a bad idea but I am not entirely sure it actually does any good other than knowing they have permission to be there. It would seem awkward too as a liability thing, especially if it really doesn't help. As a permission thing so you don't fight with your neighbors its a pretty good idea. I wouldn't make it an individual note though. Maybe like a petition when kids come over before they are allowed to use either. Like a list of the kids names and a spot for the parent to sign under does or doesn't have my permission to use the trampoline or pool. That would come in handy when a kids says "my mom said I could come over and swim" when they really don't and you can show them they don't have permission.

Even if a child is injured or killed without your permission to be there you can still be held liable. Just make sure your homeowners knows you have both and your coverage is sufficient (accepting the insurance payout/limits would get them more than suing you for your assets) . They can't accept insurance payout and sue you personally for assets.

From another side- my daughter broke her arm on someone else's property. She was hospitalized overnight and had to have surgical pins (2 surgeries involved). Medical bills came to around $20,000. Our out of pocket cost was about $5000. It was so stupid. Her and the HO's daughters were playing in a wagon. Her and 1 were in the wagon, the other pulling. They hit a dip in the yard and the wagon catapulted her. Go figure, they had a trampoline but she breaks her arm riding in a little red wagon. She had our permission and we were sitting 20 feet away from her with the homeowners. Our medical insurance company wanted to subrogate to get their money back. We had to tell them it happened on public property (it was pretty close to the property line and they were weaving on and off) so that they wouldn't go after the home owner for reimbursement. They had insurance and that is what its for but it just felt wrong to us for them to take a hit on something we were sitting right there for and that was no ones fault. I mean we have medical insurance for a reason too. Now had we not had medical insurance would not have had a choice and we would have had to use their homeowners insurance.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:02 AM   #4
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Re: Play Dates and Liability

The neighbor was asking for liability reasons, I think, since I had already given verbal permission over the phone. Buy maybe not, I never asked, didn't want to pry.

I like the petition idea to avoid conflict with the kids, except in our case we are very rural and our "neighbors" are not immediate, so there are not that many kids, it is more case by case. This week we have a play date at our house with a classmate who lives nearby but his mother won't be present so that is when I started thinking about it. I will have to check with our homeowners insurance to make sure we have the pool and trampoline listed for coverage.

Sorry to hear about your daughter and the wagon. We would have felt the same as you about not wanting to use their homeowners. Thank goodness for medical insurance
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:02 PM   #5
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Re: Play Dates and Liability

We're rural too. The petition thing would probably work better in a subdivision. For the one coming up, I would just make sure the mom knows and is ok with the trampoline and pool. And of course check your insurance.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:43 PM   #6
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Re: Play Dates and Liability

I've never thought about this, but I did have a friend whose son was seriously injured on a trampoline. She had said she didn't want her child playing on it, the mom let him anyway, and he was hurt (knocked out and transported by ambulance). She was super pissed at the mom (rightfully so)
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:06 PM   #7
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Re: Play Dates and Liability

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I've never thought about this, but I did have a friend whose son was seriously injured on a trampoline. She had said she didn't want her child playing on it, the mom let him anyway, and he was hurt (knocked out and transported by ambulance). She was super pissed at the mom (rightfully so)
See I am not an "I'll sue you" person but if I said no and they ignored me. I would consider it. I probably still wouldn't but I'd really have to think about it.
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:02 AM   #8
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Re: Play Dates and Liability

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Originally Posted by jbug_4 View Post
Even if a child is injured or killed without your permission to be there you can still be held liable. Just make sure your homeowners knows you have both and your coverage is sufficient (accepting the insurance payout/limits would get them more than suing you for your assets) . They can't accept insurance payout and sue you personally for assets.

From another side- my daughter broke her arm on someone else's property. She was hospitalized overnight and had to have surgical pins (2 surgeries involved). Medical bills came to around $20,000. Our out of pocket cost was about $5000. It was so stupid. Her and the HO's daughters were playing in a wagon. Her and 1 were in the wagon, the other pulling. They hit a dip in the yard and the wagon catapulted her. Go figure, they had a trampoline but she breaks her arm riding in a little red wagon. She had our permission and we were sitting 20 feet away from her with the homeowners. Our medical insurance company wanted to subrogate to get their money back. We had to tell them it happened on public property (it was pretty close to the property line and they were weaving on and off) so that they wouldn't go after the home owner for reimbursement. They had insurance and that is what its for but it just felt wrong to us for them to take a hit on something we were sitting right there for and that was no ones fault. I mean we have medical insurance for a reason too. Now had we not had medical insurance would not have had a choice and we would have had to use their homeowners insurance.
I had a similar situation. My son broke his leg at daycare. He dropped about 1.5 feet from the dome climber and his leg broke. Total freak accident. His daycare provider was right there. She wasn't neglectful, but about 2 weeks after my son had his referral to the orthopedist (for the growth plate fracture; apparently, they didn't care when it was just a minor break, but they did care once it became a long-term, expensive break) I got a nasty letter demanding the name, address, and phone number of the person who was the owner of the property on which the accident occurred with an implied threat that I could lose my insurance coverage if I did not give them that information. I spent a LONG time on the phone over it because I did not think that was fair. She was not responsible. My son was just playing. The play structure was in good-repair, she was being properly attentive (according to my son and several other witnesses, not just her own report), he just fell 1.5 feet which should NOT have resulted in a break, but did. This is why I HAVE health insurance, so my kid can play and if he gets hurt, he can get fixed. Once they verified that I wasn't going to sue her, they backed off and haven't asked for her information again, but it was a stressful week. She contacted her insurance too so they would have a heads up if my insurance came after her. It was a mess.

I have a very real fear of having kids play at my house after this and I don't have a pool or trampoline. If I did have one of those, I can't imagine letting kids play without a liability waiver. I don't know if it would hold up in court, but at least it would be a start. The fact of the matter is that it may not be the parents of the child coming after you, their insurance company may take it out of their hands and go after you anyway.
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:09 AM   #9
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Re: Play Dates and Liability

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Originally Posted by lanwenyi View Post

I have a very real fear of having kids play at my house after this and I don't have a pool or trampoline. If I did have one of those, I can't imagine letting kids play without a liability waiver. I don't know if it would hold up in court, but at least it would be a start. The fact of the matter is that it may not be the parents of the child coming after you, their insurance company may take it out of their hands and go after you anyway.
Yes I think it would probably hold up in a civil court better than with the insurance company though. I am not sure an insurance company would honor a release done between parents like that. That would definitely be a question for a lawyer.
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Old 08-14-2014, 01:14 PM   #10
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Re: Play Dates and Liability

I make parents physcially come to me and say a kid can jump on the trampoline. A kid saying "mom said yes" will not work. Nor will a note.
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