By Steven R. Smith, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
In South Glens Falls, New York, a horrific event unravelled right before the eyes of children, adults, and bystanders. During a 25 MPH wind gust, a bounce house lifted off the ground with three children inside. The bounce house was lifed 50 feet into the air. Serious personal injuries resulted from this incident. The children were taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment. It was reported that the bounce house was distributed as a Little Tikes bounce house. You can read more about this story at B Bounce House Lifts in the Air and Causes Serious Personal Injuries in New York.
Unfortunately, bounce house injuries are quite common. At times, the bounce houses lift off the ground or roll over which, in turn, cause injuries to the children and adults in or near the bounce house. Some injuries are preventable with supervision and proper anchoring. However, some incidents are not so preventable if the users follow proper manufacturer instructions and provide proper supervision yet the personal injuries still take place.
What should a parent do when a child suffers personal injuries in a bounce house incient? Of course, the first and foremost duty of the parent is to obtain proper medical care and evaluation of the injured child. In many communities, there is a children’s hospital and specialized children’s clinic available for medical care and evaluation. If the injuries are minor in nature, a visit to an urgent care center or the child’s pediatrician may suffice.
Once the medical needs of the child are addressed, the parents may decide to seek legal representation for reimbursment of the medical bills and for compensation for the injured child. Can a case be pursued on behalf of an injured child in a bounce house incident? The pursuit of a case will depend on the facts and circumstances. Each potential case must be evaluated on its own merit. Like other personal injury cases, there are typically four element to prove in a bounce house injury case as follows:
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
A duty may be the requirment to properly anchor the bounce house prior to use. Another duty may be the requirement to have sufficient supervision in place at the time of use. Yet, another duty may be to restrict the number of children in the bounce house or the age limit of the children in the bounce house. If a duty is breached, then the second element is established. It is the third element that can be a challenge in some cases. It must be shown that the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injuries. There must be a link (also known as causation) between the breach of duty and the resulting damages. Finally, as a practical matter, the injuries suffered need to be severe enough to warrant medical atention over a period of time for it to warrant the expense of time and costs by an attorney to properly represent the injured child.
The potential defendants in a bounce house injury case may include one or more of the following:
1. Host of the bounce house party or event;
2. Manufacturer of the bounce house;
3. Retail seller of the bounce house;
4. Property owner where the bounce house was placed:
5. Renter of the bounce house;
6. Owner of the bounce house;
7. Company that rented out the bounce house; and
8. Persons (including children) who caused another child to be injured.
The above individuals are not automatically liable or responsible for the injuries suffered by the child. As stated above, the four elements must be met. Furthermore, the pursuit of the case by an attorney will need to be practical as well. For instance, if the child suffred a minor scratch that required just a band aid and did not result in any scarring, it would not be practical (in most instances) to pursue an injury case even if the four elements can be proved above.
The book – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know</strong> – has chapters on Theme and Amusement Parks, Playground Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
As stated above, each case should be evaluated on its own merit. If you have a question about a bounce house injury matter or some other matter, contact us at the Child Injury Lawyer Blog.