Accident in sports playground - small business
March 12, 2021 10:05 PM   Subscribe

We love a local sporting facility. Our kid had a bad injury there today. We don't blame the facility - it was a complete accident. What is the etiquette here for a small struggling business? We'd like to keep going, and will change our own behavior to be safer.

There is a fantastic sporting arena near us, with opportunities for beginners to experts in a specific solo sport. Kids are welcome, waivers are signed, it goes without saying they are Covid safe, with masks and social distancing required, etc.

We've been going to this place for a few years with our kids and their friends. The facility always does a great job. I'm not a hovering parent, and I signed the waiver. Today, one of my kids had an accident - we thought he had a broken bone, but thankfully he didn't. He had a bad fall, and he will be pain for awhile.

We signed waivers. We knew this sport had risks. We don't blame the facility in any way. We will bear the medical costs ourselves. I called them from the ER this evening to tell them we accidentally took a piece of rental equipment with us as we rushed out. They sounded odd - and I get it. Many people would sue, even having signed waivers. We won't. We would like to keep going back without them worrying about us. This particular kid isn't going to do this particular activity for awhile, after he heals.

Do we have to give this place a pass for a long time with our other kids? The injury was pretty apparent to the entire facility, and I'm sure they've noted it in our file.
posted by heigh-hothederryo to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Best answer: I'd just keep going back, maybe say something to the staff like, "We're so glad that our kid is okay, thanks for the professional way everything was handled" and leave it at that.

They have insurance for this stuff and the waiver protection stuff. Hopefully you have insurance too. It is all fine and the way these businesses operate. Your kid isn't the first to have an accident and won't be the last.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:11 PM on March 12, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Just be prepared for your insurance company to require you to fill out a form asking for more information to determine if a third party can be held liable. Be sure to fill it out in a way that make it clear that it was accident due to your child's behavior not negligence on the part of the facility.
posted by metahawk at 10:30 PM on March 12, 2021 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: To clarify, kid wasn't behaving badly, just participating in the sport enthusiastically. My heart is broken for my child, because they are in pain, and will be for some time. But it was an accident inherent to the sport, in a facility that is professional.
posted by heigh-hothederryo at 10:54 PM on March 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When you return the rental equipment, thank them and tell them, true or not, that your child will be ok and is looking forward to coming back as soon as he is able.
posted by AugustWest at 11:23 PM on March 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

Per metahawk, if you are in the US, for insurance purposes, you most likely (like, virtually certainly) won't be the one to decide "fault." After any ER visit due to an accident, your insurance company will likely have a third party that specializes in subrogation contact you (probably by mail) and you answer questions about how it happened, then they either go after the facility's insurance or not.
posted by Pax at 3:32 AM on March 13, 2021 [6 favorites]

The only way that anyone can "go after" the facility is if there was a defective condition of the premises or if there was some negligence on the part of the facility's employees. Many people have the impression that an injury on your premises equals automatic liability, and that isn't the case. When the insurance company asks questions, tell the truth about what happened and let them know about the signed release (which may or may not be valid in your state, by the way). Whether to proceed will be up to them, yes, but they normally will pursue a subrogation action if there is a pretty clear case of liability.
posted by yclipse at 3:45 AM on March 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

Anecdata, but I've been injured three times on park district property (2 broken bones, 1 sprain, one in a formal class and the other two while practicing on my own). Each time, my insurance did indeed send me a lengthy form to fill out where I had to write that the accident happened at the park district, but at the end of the day my insurance footed the bill, presumably since the facility didn't do anything wrong except allow me, a noted clumsy person, to go there.

(For the record, I still use the facilities where these accidents happened. One of them is a place I went 3 times a week, pre-covid, and at most I remember the director asking me how I was feeling the first few times after I came back.)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:20 AM on March 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

So basically the exact same thing happened to my kid, only what we thought was just a broken bone was actually so severe as to potentially require amputation (!) or even fatality (!!). And yet like you I knew it was just a random accident, so I had no malice whatsoever toward the facility, which we'd been going to for years. What I did was drop the manager an email giving them an update on my son's injury, praising a particular employee who'd helped out in the moment, and saying we looked forward to returning when my son was healed. He healed and we went back and all was well.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:04 AM on March 13, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I work in a facility where we occasionally have injuries (I broke my leg in a freak accident myself.) I hope they reached out to you; here in less-litigious Canada we would have.

I think it's very kind of you to be thinking of them, and I think an email just stating the injury, that it wasn't a broken bone, that it was (whatever it is), that you know it's a risk of pursuing the activity, and that you hope to be back (timeframe) would go over well with us - we would care and want to know how your child was doing, especially. We fill out incident reports for every injury and occasionally have called to get a few details - that's both how we document for liability reasons, but also ways that we identify patterns and improve our operations.

I hope your child heals quickly and that all goes well.
posted by warriorqueen at 12:10 PM on March 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

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