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Rocket Jumping Is Obviously Dangerous

Because companies have better knowledge about the dangers presented by their products than do consumers, they usually have a duty to warn consumers about the dangers their products present. However, if the danger presented by the product is "open and obvious," companies have no obligation to warn people about the obvious danger. For example, a hammer maker does not have to warn people who buy its hammers to be careful not to smash their thumbs, because the nature of a hammer makes this danger obvious.

Recently, this rule was applied to deny a teenager any recovery for injuries she suffered while jumping on a neighbor's trampoline. The evidence showed that the injured teen and her friends were "rocket jumping," which resulted in one jumper being thrown much higher than usual. The injured teen took her turn as the "rocket" and hurt her knee on landing. Her parents sued the trampoline manufacturer for failing to warn the teen that she should not have been performing "rocket jumps." The Illinois Supreme Court rejected this argument, holding that "a reasonable 15-year-old teenager would understand the danger of rocket-jumping," and thus the trampoline company had no duty to warn her against this obvious danger.

© 2011 Lucas Law

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