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There are few things as scary to a parent as an injury to our children. We go through our daily lives with the understanding that drivers will stop at red lights, that electronics will not catch fire and burn down our homes and that fall hazards will be identified and guarded (e.g., with railings). These are components of our social contract. That social contract was broken recently as this news story relates.

“A toddler was injured in what officials are calling a "freak accident" when she fell through bleachers at the Tacoma Dome. The 17-month old girl fell 20 to 30 feet onto concrete during the state high school wrestling championships” on February 20th.

The family of the injured child has claims against the Tacoma Dome and the persons or entities responsible for the design flaws. But before suit can be filed against any public entity in Washington (including any city, county, port, etc.) you must first file what’s called a tort claim form and give the public entity 60 days to respond to it.

In this instance, the Tacoma Dome took corrective action in the form of taping off similarly dangerous areas. (Unfortunately, it was taken too late.) While the corrective action cannot be introduced as an admission of liability, it can be introduced in Court to show that there was a feasible and cost-effective way to make the bleachers safer for children. Hopefully, whatever permanent remedy they come up with for the problem will result in fewer broken promises of our social contract and we can all breathe a little easier the next time we decide to attend a public event.

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