Breach of Duty;
The duty can present itself in different forms. There may be a duty owed on the part of the bounce house operator if there was an agreement or understanding that the bounce house operator was going to provide supervision at the event or home where the bounce house was rented. There would also be a duty on the part of the property owner or the homeowner. In most instances, the homeowner or property owner can delegate a duty but cannot then avoid liability for the negligent acts of another person or company in charge of supervising play on the bounce house.
Next, there must be a breach of duty. In other words, there must be a negligent or careless act of some kind. This can also present itself in the form of inaction. For example, if the supervisor allows teenagers to horse around in the same bounce house as a 5 year old. This can be a breach of the duty of supervision.
The third element relates to causation. The negligent act or breach of duty must be the cause or a cause of the damages or the injuries sustained by the child. As noted above, if a teenager fell on a 5 year old in the bounce house, the negligent act of the supervision would be the cause of the injuries. However, if the 5 year old was jumping in the bounce house and twisted his ankle just be the act of jumping, then there would be not cause or link between the negligent act and the injuries / damages.
The fourth element relates to damages. There can be a negligent or careless act that constitutes a breach of duty; however, if there are no injuries / damages OR the injuries / damages are very minor – then the element of damages may be lacking.
Keep in mind that each case or claim should be evaluated on its own facts and merits. In addition to the four elements listed above, there are other challenge that may present themselves in other forms. For instance, liability insurance may be an issue. Hopefully, the negligent party carried liability insurance. For the bounce house operator, this would be in the form of commercial / business liability insurance. For the homeowner, this would be in the form of homeowner’s insurance. Unfortunately, many homeowner’s insurance policies exclude coverage for trampoline and / or bounce house related personal injuries. Another factor to consider is the location of the incident. Liability / negligence laws vary from state to state.
David Wolf is a personal injury and child injury attorney with over 28 years of experience. He is the author of 12 books that focus on injury and safety issues including the book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – What Every Parent Should Know – Legal Rights of the Injured Child. Get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.Attorney David Wolf provides a free consultation on all personal injury matters. David Wol firmly believes in Giving a Voice to Injured Children and Their Families.