The popular social media platform TikTok has banned users from posting videos of the dangerous “milk crate challenge.” If you haven’t seen these videos yet, the basic premise of the challenge is to stack milk crates as high as you can and then climb to the top. Once at the top, you attempt to walk across the rest of the crates. Almost every video posted to social media has depicted the participants falling to the ground, some suffering serious injuries to their head, neck, spine, and extremities.
“TikTok prohibits content that promotes or glorifies dangerous acts, and we remove videos and redirect searches to our Community Guidelines to discourage such content,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We encourage everyone to exercise caution in their behavior whether online or off.”
The Minot personal injury attorneys at Larson Law Firm, P.C. discuss the dangers of the TikTok challenge, and why you might need an attorney if you or your child get hurt.
Why is the milk crate challenge so dangerous?
The premise of this challenge is to build a pyramid with as many milk crates as possible before climbing to the top. There haven’t been many people who made it to the top of their pyramid without first falling violently to the ground.
The milk crate challenge is dangerous for people of any age because milk crates are unsteady, and were not designed to hold the weight of a person. Milk crates are meant to be stacked on top of each other when empty or when filled with milk cartons, but not to be stacked and then climbed by humans.
Depending on how high the crates are stacked, your child could wind up suffering serious injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Hairline fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Neck injuries
- Damage to your internal organs (like a punctured lung)
Other injuries your child could suffer include ACL tears, a dislocated shoulder, fractured ribs, a meniscus tear, broken wrists, and more.
Who can be held responsible for injuries suffered in a social media challenge?
For the most part, you are responsible for the injuries you suffer if you participate in these types of challenges. However, if your child was injured on someone else’s property, you may be able to make a claim against their homeowners’ insurance. If your child was injured while at school or daycare, on a sports field, or while under the supervision of another adult, you could have a claim stemming from negligent supervision.
Is it possible to sue TikTok for milk crate challenge injuries?
Realistically, no. Content posted on TikTok is created by users of the social media platform, and therefore TikTok is protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Further, TikTok has condemned the dangerous challenge and has pulled all content from its site.
If this frustrates you, we understand. In 2015, a teenager using a Snapchat speed filter and driving 113mph hit another car, and one of the victims suffered a TBI. Snapchat avoided liability.
In 2018, thousands of people participated in the “In My Feelings” challenge, which led to them jumping out of moving cars. Some of those people were actually hit by moving vehicles as a result. In March 2020, TikTok pulled all videos of the “skull breaker challenge” because children were suffering serious injuries. In February 2021, a TikTok video of a young man pretending to sleep while his Tesla drove him around on Autopilot was a viral sensation. TikTok has avoided liability in all three examples, so far.
The truth is that until content platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can be held liable for the damage their creators cause, they will continue to allow dangerous videos on their sites. These videos drive traffic, which in turn increases their profits – and ultimately, that it what these companies want: money. TikTok is right to condemn and remove the videos, but the chances are good that a new dangerous challenge will arise soon, and it will still be perfectly legal.
Should I call an attorney if my child is hurt because of a social media challenge?
While it may be impossible to sue a platform like TikTok, that does not mean you do not have a case. Property owners owe their visitors a duty of care, so if your child was hurt, you could still have a claim. You should not be responsible for paying your child’s medical bills, or lose income because you need to care for your child and cannot work, if someone else was negligent. Our Minot personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, so it will cost you nothing to learn whether you have a case.
Did your child sustain an injury while under the care of someone else? If so, it’s important that you speak with an experienced Minot personal injury attorney about your injuries. Call the office of Larson Law Firm, P.C. at 701-484-HURT, or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation today. We have offices in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo to better serve our clients.
I opened up my firm because I wanted to offer people something different. My staff and I take pride in a client-oriented approach to serving the needs of our clients, hoping that they always feel the door is open to them and their wishes. My office prides itself on state-of-the-art technology and cost-effective means to provide services.
Read more about Mark V Larson