An eight-year-old boy was in town visiting his extended family. His mother took him and a group of his cousins to a nearby trampoline park as a special treat. She paid for the kids to jump for an hour, signed the facility’s standard waiver on behalf of each child, and listened carefully as the staff instructed the children on trampoline safety rules.
The boy and his cousins were having a blast. They were laughing and jumping—being careful to avoid running or jumping on another person’s square. Mom was watching closely to make sure the rules were being followed.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a 35-year-old man of average height and average build comes running through the area and jumps on the boy’s square. The force sends the boy flying from the trampoline, and he breaks his leg.
In most cases, a broken leg heals within six to eight weeks. Unfortunately, the boy’s injury was more severe. He suffered a growth plate fracture, which means that the soft tissue at the end of the bone had been damaged. As a result, the bone would no longer continue to grow until he reached his full adult height.
The boy’s family consulted several orthopedic surgeons, going out of state to attempt to find the best possible care. The doctors all agreed the damage to the growth plate couldn’t be fixed.
As a result of the fracture, the boy would be left with one leg up to five inches shorter than the other unless they broke the growth plate in his other leg or performed a series of surgeries to continually break and reposition the bone until he reached his full adult height. If he chose to have the series of surgeries, he’d be immobilized for about three months after each procedure while the bone healed.
Fighting an Uphill Battle
Attorney Matthew Lathrop received this case as a referral from another attorney. The referring attorney believed the family deserved compensation for their son’s injuries but was worried the case would be too difficult due to the waiver the mother signed when entering the trampoline park.
Never one to back away from a challenge, Matthew wanted to help this little boy get the justice he deserved. As a father of four, he knew how hard it was for the parents to see their son in pain.
After reviewing the case file, Matthew reached out to his professional network in search of an expert in trampoline park safety. He found a former Olympic trampoline tryout team member from the 1970s who turned his passion for the sport into a crusade to promote safety at trampoline parks throughout the United States. “When I work with experts, I like to choose people who have compelling skills and a passion for what they do,” Matthew said. “I don’t want someone who will just testify and send a bill. What struck me about this particular expert was that he was adamant about keeping kids safe from harm.”
Although the expert said there’s no way to make any trampoline park 100% safe, he found multiple concerns going beyond basic safety issues at the facility where the boy was injured—including insufficient padding on the turnbuckles. Matthew hired a videographer to film the expert’s inspection of the facility to submit as evidence for the case.
Mediation Brings a Positive Result
Based on the trampoline safety expert’s assessment, Matthew was able to argue that the waiver the mother signed would not be recognized by a Nebraska court. At mediation, he negotiated a confidential settlement that covered the boy’s full medical bills, including the cost of future surgeries to address complications caused by the broken growth plate. The settlement also set aside money for any issues the boy would encounter regardless of how successful the future surgeries were.
Matthew was honored to have been given a chance to help this family in their fight against the trampoline park’s insurance company. “All of my cases touch me on a personal level, and this was no exception,” he said. “This little guy was outgoing, bubbly, friendly, and fun before the accident. He didn’t let the injury affect his personality, which was an inspiration to me every time I talked to him.”
How Can We Help You?
If you or your child have suffered serious injuries in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you need a fierce advocate on your side. Insurance companies put profits first, but Matthew Lathrop can help you fight for the compensation you need to move forward with your life. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Matthew A. Lathrop today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.