A Palm Beach County parks worker was awarded $1.5 million from Master Contractors after an incident six years ago when a picnic pavilion roof fell on her. Mary Washington of Delray Beach was cleaning the pavilion at Caloosa Park in Boynton Beach when the ceiling collapsed, causing the worker injuries to her back, rendering her unable to continue as a maintenance worker.
According to the Palm Beach Post, testimony revealed that the pavilion was not properly inspected because the contractor did not get all of the required permits. The trial lasted about two weeks and the jury took about an hour and a half to render a verdict for Washington. She was awarded for lost wages and medical expenses, as well as $250,000 for pain and suffering.
The jury also determined that the county was 20 percent at fault for the incident. However, the county will not have to pay damages to Washington since they were not named in the lawsuit.
Incidents such as these are quite disturbing, considering that so many children visit these parks every year. Palm Beach County has over 50 parks. According to Safe Kids USA, three out of four playground accidents occur in public parks, with 150,000 children visiting the emergency room every year for injuries involving playground equipment. With these dangers already in mind, visitors should not have to worry about structural failures in the parks as well. Our counties and the companies which they hire to construct or oversee our parks must do so in a responsible manner, following all safety laws and regulations.