Large damages award for injury caused by defective trampoline

18 June 2024

The plaintiff was awarded almost $750,000.00 in damages after injuring his right foot whilst jumping on a Springfree trampoline on Christmas Day. The court found the plaintiff suffered the injury due to a safety defect in the trampoline which resulted in him landing on a hard cleat underneath the mat’s edge.

In issue

  • Whether the trampoline had a safety defect by failing to include a warning relating to cleats.
  • Whether the plaintiff suffered injuries because of the safety defect.
  • Whether a claim based on ss 9 & 138 of schedule 2 (The Australian Consumer Law) (ACL) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 was established
  • Whether a cause of action in negligence was established.

The background

On 25 December 2017 the plaintiff attended his sister’s residence, and attempted to jump on their new oval O92 model Springfree trampoline. Whilst jumping on the trampoline the plaintiff jumped slightly wayward, and descended around the net area on the outer section of the trampoline. The plaintiff’s right foot came down near the edge of the mat where a cleat was installed underneath. The plaintiff reported upon landing he felt hardness particularly focused under the right outer side of his right foot. He felt pain immediately and exited the trampoline. The plaintiff suffered what is commonly referred to as a ‘dancer’s fracture’, namely a fifth metatarsal fracture.

The plaintiff commenced proceedings in the Queensland Supreme Court against the manufacturer of the trampoline, Springfree. The plaintiff brought a cause of action based on section 9 of schedule 2 (The Australian Consumer Law) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), and a cause of action in negligence, against Springfree.

The decision at trial

The court considered the way in which the plaintiff landed on the trampoline, and whether there was sufficient evidence to suggest the plaintiff bottomed out on the trampoline, and which way his foot landed. Justice Hindman was not satisfied on the balance of probabilities that any bottoming-out occurred. Justice Hindman found the plaintiff to have landed on the mat flat-footed or close to, and the cleat did cause or significantly contribute to the inversion of the plaintiff’s right foot.

The court also concluded that the product was defective due to the absence of a proper warning, in that extra caution ought to be exercised in jumping on the webbing or that jumping on the webbing should be avoided.

Justice Hindman found that the trampoline did suffer from a safety defect, and that the safety defect did cause the plaintiff to suffer an injury in respect of which loss and damage was sustained. The court found the plaintiff was entitled to compensation pursuant to section 138 of the Australian Consumer Law, and assessed the amount of compensation to equal $744,175.00.

The court found that liability in negligence was established adopting similar reasoning processes.

Implications for you

This decision highlights the need for adequate safety warnings to be installed on products, in order to uphold products safety standards for consumers. Failure to do so may result in findings of negligence even where safety warnings are in place, if those warnings are not adequate to protect the consumer from injury.

Forostenko v Springfree Trampoline Australia Pty Ltd [2024] QSC 1

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