Backyard trampolines are becoming more and more of a fixture in neighborhoods. Even though they can be an immense source of fun for kids and parents alike, the liability that a homeowner is exposed to with their presence can be tremendous.
There are many things that a homeowner should consider before they purchase a backyard trampoline. Making sure that these things are considered prior to purchase can limit their legal risk should something go wrong.
Your Backyard Trampoline and Your Homeowner’s Insurance
The amount of exposure to risk from owning a backyard trampoline can be astronomical. Because of this, the presence of one on your property can have a substantial effect on your homeowner’s policy. In many cases, homeowner’s insurance agencies will not insure a property with a backyard trampoline.
Before you install a trampoline in your yard, it is essential that you check with your homeowner’s insurance company to make sure that this will not cause an issue with your policy. Even if the company that insures your home will allow a trampoline to be installed in your backyard, the additional liability insurance that you might have to take on to accommodate the risk might be prohibitive.
How Many at A Time?
When seeing people on a trampoline, you mostly see groups of people jumping in concert. From a fun perspective, this might look like the best way to enjoy the trampoline. From a liability perspective, however, this is the worst thing you could do.
The amount of injury risk that a person is exposed to when two people are jumping instead of one is ten times more increased. Trampoline collisions can cause significant orthopedic damage and expose homeowners to incredible risk in addition to the liability that just having a trampoline in the backyard does on its own. When the trampoline is in use, it is best for one person to jump at a time, and the others cheer them on from the perimeter.
Don’t Be an Acrobat
When jumping on a trampoline, the first thing that might be attractive to do is to try out the flip that you might have seen on a YouTube video. On a trampoline that is in a backyard, however, this is not something that you want to do. Flips and somersaults are one of the leading causes of cervical injuries from trampoline usage, and can cause significant lifelong injuries. If you’d like to do flips and somersaults, these are best done at a commercial gymnasium, where you’ll find the proper equipment and staff support to avoid a big injury from a tragic mistake.
A huge issue to consider is attractive nuisance. This is a matter that routinely comes into play when playground equipment or a pool is present on a homeowner’s property, and people sneak onto the property to use the equipment. Even though the person may not have been given permission to use the trampoline, the homeowner can still be liable. It is important to take all precautions to ensure that the trampoline is in a closed and locked area and that access to the area is restricted. No entry point (i.e. ladder) should be left next to the trampoline that would allow young children to access the equipment unsupervised. Taking these precautions will ensure that the homeowner has the least amount of exposure to risk.
In any case, consulting a lawyer is a great idea before making a trampoline purchase. An experienced attorney can give you valuable information on how a trampoline on your property will expose you to risk, as well as provide the steps you need to take to protect your main asset – your home. Contact us today for a consultation and let us work for you.