Articles Posted in Homeowner’s Insurance / Injuries at a Home

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Summer is filed with fun and play for children. For some, the bounce house is a great place for children to exercise, move around, and socialize with friends.  The bounce house can also the scene of a serious injury especially for small children and toddlers.  Just because a bounce house is padded and filled with air does not mean that a bounce house is a safe place.

Bounce house play can be a fun time for your children this summer, but repeatedly jumping up and coming down in various ways come with inherent risks. While it is difficult to completely ensure your child’s safety within a bounce house without being over-protective, measures can be taken to minimize safety risks. When buying or renting a bounce house to use for a children’s event check to make sure that the selected bounce house is equipped with safety nets and is set up as instructed by the manufacturer. This includes remembering to securely fashion the bounce house to the ground in order to account for sudden gusts of wind that may topple over the house. While most injuries suffered within bounce houses are not severe, if wind knocks the house airborne with children inside of it, the chance of serious injury skyrockets. Though it may be hard to regulate, keeping the number of children within the bounce house below its maximum capacity further minimizes risk of injury to your child.

Dr. David Foley, medical director of an urgent care centers, states that summer is the season that sees the most “slip, trip, or fall’ injuries. He goes on to state that risk of injury is inevitable in bounce houses due to promoting jumping and falling in different ways. The risk is even greater in these cases as the bounce houses allow for falls from even greater heights, generating more momentum and force as they fall back to ground which can lead to more serious injury. When setting up a bounce house outdoors, check weather reports for rain as a slippery bounce house can be a recipe for disaster, adding more risk to an already dangerous activity. According to doctor Foley the most common injuries that occur within bounce houses are to the limbs. These types of injuries include but are not limited to, twisted ankles, fractured elbows, and in the most serious of cases, head trauma. For events in which parents plan to use a bounce house, assigning supervisors to keep watch over what’s happening within the bounce house can prevent injuries that are results of negligence. See Bounce House Play – Keeping Children Safe.

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Dresser-Tipping-Danger-191x300There is a common danger in homes, day care centers, and schools.  What would often appear as a safe environment really is not.  The danger presents itself in the form of unanchored furniture.  This danger can lead to serious personal injuries and even the death of a child. When furniture is manufactured and distributed, there should be an expectation on the part of the manufacturers, distributors, and retail stores that this very items will be placed in homes, day care centers, and schools where children may be present. As such, it is important that the furniture if manufactured in a way that makes the furniture safe and steady rather than a hazard in which a terrible tragedy could happen on any given day.

It has been reported by Consumer Product Safety Commission that over 300,000 furniture chests were recalled after a child was killed by an unanchored chest. It is reported that as many as 70 children every day are injured by fallen furniture and, every two weeks, fallen furniture results in the death of one child. Chests, desks, and cabinets can tip over if a child climbs on it and the piece is not secured or made properly. However, it’s not just climbing that can result in danger. In some cases, a piece of furniture can fall over if too many drawers are open.

The responsibility falls upon the manufacturer of the furniture to ensure that, even if unanchored, their pieces do not actively pose a danger to children. Some articles of furniture come pre-weighted so that consumers do not have to weight it to make it more safe. There is also a responsibility that on the part of the distributors and retail stores, like Target and Walmart. If distributors and retailers are aware of any past injustices or injuries caused by a certain manufacturer’s furniture, they should refrain from distributing them. The ultimate responsibility belongs to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC. They decide what products get recalled and when. If unweighted furniture seriously injures or kills one child, the CPSC should take action as quickly as possible to get it out of people’s homes.

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In pursuing a case or claim for a bounce house injury, there are four elements to establish:

Duty;
Breach of Duty;
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Bounce houses are commonly seen in neighborhoods, amusement parks, fairs, parties, and other events. On most occasions, a bounce house is a great way for a child to play, get some exercise, and interact with friends. Unfortunately, bounce houses and similar recreational structures can be the site of a very serious injury and even the death of a child if safety precautions are not followed, including but not limited to, the anchoring of the bounce house. Furthermore, adult supervision is always key to protecting children from injuries. Kids will be kids. They lack good safety judgment and when there is no adult around – accidents and injuries can and do happen.

A recent accident in Nebraska exemplifies the instantaneous moment where fun on a bounce pad can turn injurious and deadly. A two-year-old boy died and his five-year old sister sustained a broken arm when a strong breeze uprooted the anchoring stakes of the moon bounce they were playing in at a Halloween pumpkin patch. The little girl was thrown from the bounce pad as it blew over, which saved her from serious injury. Unfortunately, the little boy tumbled with the bounce house as it blew over, which caused fatal head injuries. This tragedy in Nebraska demonstrates only one of the multitudes of ways in which a bounce house can cause injuries.

According to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, other common injuries from trampolines and moon bounces are head trauma, neck injuries, and broken legs. Suffocation by the plastic of a bounce house poses additional risks, such as lung or brain damage from a lack of oxygen. Furthermore, the children’s hospital also indicates that over 10,000 children a year sustain injuries in moon bounces and that over a third of those injuries occur in children younger than five years old. See Bounce House Related Personal Injuries to Children.

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Inflatable-Castle-300x279In States across the nation, bounce houses are commonly seen in neighborhood, strip malls, carnivals, birthday parties, theme parks, amusement parks, festivals, schools, playgrounds, and community events.  Unfortunately, many States do not regulate bounce house companies and the States that do have limited and sporadic enforcement of the permitting laws and regulations.  Furthermore, even if a company is permitted to place or rent a bounce house, there is not much in the way of supervision or enforcement in the way that the bounce house companies monitor the use of the bounce house.  In most cases, the bounce house is dropped off at a party and the parents or party organizers are left with the task and responsibility for monitoring children using the bounce house.
Unfortunately, the important task of supervision is poorly planned and poor executed.  Furthermore, parents and party organizers rarely have the training, experience, or know-how as to the proper use and occupancy of bounce houses.  Some safety experts recommend that children under the age of 6 years old should not play in bounce houses.  Some set the age limit at under the age of 3 years old.  Any child, who is unsteady on his or her feet, should avoid play in a bounce house because these children are at high risk for falling and getting injured.
Many bounce house injuries result from rough play in the bounce house that is not properly supervised or stopped when first initiated.  When there is a mixture of older and bigger children (teens) and younger – small children (pre-schools and early elementary school aged children), injuries can easily happen when the smaller child is bounced too hard and is knocked over or fallen on by the older child. Overcrowding can also lead to personal injuries of children playing in a bounce houses.
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By David A. Wolf, Attorney

Child Injury Lawyer Blog

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There are times of the year in which children and others are out at a bit of a higher risk that other times of the year.  In the United States, New Year’s Eve, July 4th, and other holidays / celebrations throughout the year,  tend to bring out firework purchases and enthusiasts.  Any time that a fireworks are ignited, even by professional, there is a risk for injury.  When the fireworks are ignited by people without training including those under the influence of alcohol, people including children can suffer personal injuries in the form of eye injuries, burn injuries, and other injuries.

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By David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Fireworks Personal InjuriesThere are certain times of the year in which the sales and ultimate ignition / explosion of fireworks are prevalent – July 4th (Independence Day), New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.  It is at these very times of year that there are reports of both minor and serious personal injuries suffered by innocent children and adults merely in the area of the fireworks at bystanders and spectators.

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By  Keith Kerfeld, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

Fireworks - Child SafetyDuring the month of July and especially on or near the Fourth of July, fireworks are commonly ignited. Some fireworks are set off at the family home while others are at a more former celebration like a public park, downtown area, community center, or stadium.  It is vital that fireworks are ignited in the safest manner possible.  Unfortunately, despite the known risks of fireworks, children are injured every year.  Many such personal injuries are preventable.

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By David Wolf, Attorney and Robert Fernicola, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

 Trampolines are common sites in most neighborhoods especially those with small children.  While a trampoline can provide children with an activity that is away from the computer, smart phone, X-Box, and other sedentary activities, the trampoline can also be the site or location for serious personal injuries.  Unfortunately, many homeowners,  business owners, school administrators, or amusement – theme park operators  with trampolines on the premises fail to maintain the trampoline in a safe condition OR fail to provide adequate and appropriate adult supervision during the child’s use of a trampoline.   Small children especially those with poor motor skills are especially at risk for trampoline related personal injuries.   There are some safety precautions that can and should be taken as follows:

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By David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

Hand%20Gun%20-%20Firearm%20Safety.jpgIn the United States, we have a constitutional right to bear arms. A right that is very important to gun owners and people who feel strongly about the Second Amendment. Even though there is a right to gun ownership, it does not mean that the handling, storage, operation, and maintenance of a gun is without responsibility. A gun owner should take reasonable efforts to secure and safeguard guns in his possession. This is especially important in homes, day care centers, and other areas where children live or children visit. It is important for a gun owner to be trained and obtained knowledge as to the proper maintenance in to avoid any malfunctions during use and even to avoid any malfunctions or accidental shootings during the cleaning and maintenance of the gun. Unfortunately, children are injured and even die every year due to an accidental shooting and/or the negligent maintenance, ownership, or storage of a gun. When there is a shooting, there can be a criminal case prosecution if local law enforcement and the state or district attorney determine that the acts were criminal in nature under the applicable laws, statutes, or ordinances. An incident is certainly committed and can be prosecuted if it was committed with intent. An incident can also be deemed criminal in nature if the condut of the shooter and / or the gun owner was reckless in nature. Separate and apart from the potential criminal case, there may be a civil case to pursue against the gun owner, shooter, and / or property owner where the incident took place. A civil case, unlike a criminal case, seeks compensation for not only medical bills but also for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Typically, there are four elements to a civil cause of action involving allegations of negligence or carelessness as follows: