In a previous post we discussed the death of two-year old Caleb Acuna. Young Caleb died after receiving a brain injury when a gust of wind ripped the “bounce pad,” where he and his sister had been playing only moments before, from the stakes holding it to the ground.. His sister, five-year-old Aura Acuna, was thrown clear of the pad but suffered a broken arm. We also noted that certain factors seem to contribute to bounce house accidents far more often than others.
In today’s post our personal injury and bounce house accident lawyer here at The Doan Law Firm will revisit our discussion of the more-common causes of bounce house accidents by focusing on what are probably the two most common causes of such accidents: negligence in their set-up and operation and deliberate misconduct by those using the device.
First of all, what is a bounce house?
More formally known as an “inflatable recreation device,” a bounce house is basically a portable, Inflatable structure that is used primarily for amusement and entertainment at social events such as children’s’ birthday parties, fundraisers, neighborhood block parties and similar functions. The majority of these devices are rented or leased by the day from vendors who transport, assemble, and operate each unit. Most bounce houses are constructed from lightweight but strong materials such as PVC pipe and synthetic fibers that are essentially, but not completely, airtight.
What are the causes of bounce house accidents?
Experts who monitor trends and developments in the bounce house sales and rentals industry agree that over 90% of all bounce house-related injuries can be traced to one of two factors: 1) negligence in set-up and operation of the bounce house and/or 2) deliberate misconduct by those using the bounce house for its intended purpose. These terms will be explained in the following sections.
What is “negligence in set-up and operation?”
Due to their lightweight components, the leading cause of bounce house accidents are wind gusts that literally rip a bounce house from its moorings to the ground before hurling the bounce house and its occupants for hundreds of feet across the ground.
Although the specific recommendations of each bounce house manufacturer are difficult to come by, it can be assumed that all manufacturers will make essentially the same recommendations. Based on available information, such recommendations include:
- that the bounce house bet set up on a level, firm surface
- that all users be informed of the rules of conduct while inside or near the bounce house
- that an adult be immediately available at all times when children are present
- that no sharp objects be taken into the bounce house
- that the bounce house not be used if the wind exceeds 10 to 15 mph, and should be shut down in the presence of wind gusts exceeding 20 mph
If any of these recommendations are not followed, the company that was responsible for setting up the bounce house may be found to have been negligent and ordered to pay damages
What is meant by “deliberate misconduct?”
Regarding bounce house accidents, deliberate misconduct can be defined as an intentional disregard for rules of expected behavior that apply to all users after a user has been made aware of those rules. Although it would be perfectly legal to have such users removed from the bounce house and barred from returning this rarely, if ever, happens.
Who is liable in cases of negligent set-up or deliberate misconduct?
In general, the bounce house vendor has the most exposure to claims of negligence following an accident. This is, of course, is due to their responsibility for setting up the attraction according to its manufacturer’s specifications.
Homeowners and property owners are not, however, “off the hook” when it comes to bounce house accidents that are due to negligent set-up or supervision of a bounce house. In fact, there are several well-established legal doctrines that can be cited in support of holding both the vendor and the property owner liable for the vendor’s negligence.
First of all, liability of a homeowner or a property owner can arise from premises liability. Premises liability is the legal doctrine that holds a property owner, or the person having “lawful possession” of a property (such as a renter or the leaser of a property) responsible for the safe upkeep of that property in a manner that would eliminate all reasonably foreseeable conditions that could lead to an accidental injury. Thus, as the “captain of the ship,” the homeowner is liable for the actions (or inactions) of the “crew.” There are also situations where the homeowner is obligated to act regardless of what a vendor’s “on-site” employee may recommend.
As an example, consider a situation where the weather conditions appear to be worsening. The vendor could tell the homeowner that although the weather may seem to be “turning bad,” there is no reason to interrupt the children’s fun at that time. In such situations, if a “reasonable and prudent” did not have the children wait until weather conditions had obviously improved, any accident that could be even remotely linked to the weather would probably be blamed on the homeowner’s failure to recognize the approaching danger posed by poor weather conditions.
Contacting a bounce house injury lawyer
As we have seen on this and other pages, bounce house injuries can be due to any number of causes. Unfortunately, most of those causes can be traced back to negligence by the bounce house vendor and/or the party that rented the bounce house from its vendor.
Given the potential complexity of lawsuits involving bounce house accident injuries, if you or a family member suffered such an injury you will need to consult a lawyer who has:
- access to technical experts in the fields of engineering, manufacturing, and product safety
- extensive experience and knowledge in product liability law
- experience in managing complex lawsuits where there are multiple defendants
- the commitment to working toward a goal of the maximum settlement value of your case
One such experienced bounce house injury lawyer can be found at The Doan Law Firm, a nationwide personal injury and bounce house injury law practice with offices located in major cities throughout the country.
When you contact the bounce house accident injury lawyer at the Doan Law Firm to arrange a free evaluation of your bounce house injury case, your first consultation with our firm is always free and never places you under an obligation to retain out firm as your legal counsel. Should you later decide that we should represent you in court, we are willing to assume complete responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a previously-negotiated percentage of the final verdict that we will win for you.