Bounce houses are popular entertainment choices for children at parties, festivals, and even certain business events. This popularity comes with a cost, though. Did you know that bounce houses sometimes cause serious injuries to children?
In this post, we’ll detail the ways your child could be at risk while playing in a bounce house, and what you can do if your child is hurt in a bounce house due to someone else’s negligence.
What Makes Bounce Houses Dangerous?
Every year in the U.S., thousands of children are injured while playing in bounce houses. Why does it happen?
- Children injure one another by colliding while bouncing
- Too many children jumping at once can cause injuries
- The bounce house can move if unsecured, and children can be injured inside
A report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that bounce house injuries rose from 5,311 in 2003 to more than 17,000 in 2013. The rise in bounce house injuries can be attributed to several factors, including the following.
- Only half of U.S. states have regulations for bounce houses, and even then regulations are not usually enforced. That means bounce houses which have not been insured or inspected are often in use.
- Fines are rarely issued for improper use, which can encourage illegal operations.
- Some state laws about amusement ride use are unclear. The laws normally focus on annual inspections and insurance requirements, not on proper setup and supervision, which normally cause most injuries.
Bounce House Accidents and Negligence
Bounce house injuries may or may not occur due to negligence. However, for a lawsuit to apply, your Florida personal injury attorney will need to prove that negligence was involved in your child’s injury. Let’s look at a few examples where negligence may have been the cause of child bounce house injuries.
- A 5-year-old boy in Oklahoma recently suffered a serious injury from a bounce house accident inside an Incredible Pizza business. The boy was jumping in a bounce house called The Wrecking Ball, in which a padded ball swings randomly while children bounce. The boy was injured by an exposed hook on the swinging ball, which tore a three-inch deep gash into his arm. He was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, and his family is still waiting to see if the business will pay for their medical expenses.
- In another example, two children were severely injured in a New Hampshire bounce house accident. A 3-year-old boy and a 2-year-old boy were playing inside a bounce house at a Halloween festival when a strong gust of wind blew the bounce house up into the air. The 3-year-old suffered several broken bones, but the 2-year-old’s injuries were worse – he endured a severe brain injury and vision loss. His parents have sued the bounce house owner for damages related to negligence.
How Might Negligence Apply in My Case?
You may have the right to sue the bounce house owner or operator for damages if negligence occurred. Your attorney will need to prove that the owner or operator breached their duty, which directly caused injury to your child and resulted in damages.
The person acting as the bounce house operator normally has a duty to act with reasonable prudence. The operator can be held responsible for properly inflating the bounce house, securing the bounce house to the ground, allowing a reasonable number of children in the bounce house, and stopping any rough play or unreasonably risky behavior.
Your child may have caused his or her own injury under the following conditions, which would not allow for a negligence case:
- Ignoring warnings to refrain from unreasonably risky behavior, such as climbing to the top and jumping down
- Ignoring repeated requests to stop roughhousing
- Experiencing injury from a fall that did not involve any other child, assuming the bounce house was functioning properly
What If I Signed a Waiver?
Many bounce house owners or operators will require you to sign a liability waiver before your child uses the bounce house. Waivers typically cover inherent risks such as twisted ankles or bruises from awkward landings, but they do not cover negligence on part of the bounce house owner or operator.
If you signed a waiver, look over the terms again and bring it to your consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney to see if you have the right to file a claim. Since the details of each case are highly specific, call for your free consultation today.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.