Most children have probably been to a birthday party, local festival, or other event with a bounce house. Whether you know them as bounce houses, bouncy castles, or some other name, your children could face serious injury if they are not properly set up and managed.
This week in Greenville, South Carolina, five children were injured at a church carnival when a strong gust of wind sent a bounce house airborne. Two of the children needed to be hospitalized for their injuries. This kind of danger is unacceptable. When your children are injured because of an avoidable situation, it can be frustrating. The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm can help you get justice against the parties responsible for your child’s injuries and help you get the money to pay for medical bills and pain and suffering.
Bounce House Rental Company Duties
Usually, bounce houses are rented from a company that sends someone to set up the attraction and clean it up when the event is over. Typically, these rental companies do nothing else to make sure that the ride is used safely. On top of that, the person who rented the attraction might be responsible if they did not carefully manage the attraction while renting it; this would be similar to a case of trampoline injuries. There are a few different ways that someone could be held responsible for your child’s bounce house injuries.
Generally, someone cannot be held liable for someone else’s injuries at random. Instead, there must be some duty that the responsible party (the “defendant”) owed the injured party (the “plaintiff”). In a case like this, where the bounce house company sets up the bounce house, they owe a duty to properly (and safely) set up the bounce house according to the typical safety guidelines.
This means they need to ensure a few things that are typical of bounce house safety:
- The bounce house is inflated to the proper level.
- Any power cords are safely secured and marked as a tripping hazard.
- The fan and air compressor are safely housed to prevent children from getting an electric shock or touching the fan blades.
- The bounce house is properly secured and staked into the ground.
- The ride is set on level ground, free of rocks, roots, or other dangers that could pop the ride or hurt shoeless riders.
- Instructions for safe operation are clearly posted, and the renter is informed about safety standards.
There may be additional safety precautions for large, inflatable water slides.
The person who rents the bounce house and leaves it open to guests may be responsible for injuries on unsafe property. Some of these responsibilities and duties include:
- Supervise the riders to make sure they follow the rules.
- Make sure the weight and person limits are followed.
- Make sure the ride is in good condition.
- Warn riders of any dangers.
If the renter or ride attendant fails to do these things, they could face liability as well.
How Bounce Houses Cause Injury
For a bounce house to be blown by wind, something must have gone wrong. One possibility is that the ride was not properly positioned, so that it was prone to tipping in the first place. Another is that it was not properly secured to the ground with stakes. The last possibility is that the wind was incredibly strong.
The first two issues would show the rental company breached its duties and should be held liable for injuries. The setup is part of the rental company’s responsibilities. This means that when problems with the setup cause injuries, the rental company should be held liable. Here, if the ride was set up in such a way that it could easily tip over, the rental company did not safely set it up. Setting up the ride on a hill has an obvious danger the company should avoid.
Similarly, if the ride was not properly secured to the ground with stakes, the risk of the ride blowing away is dangerous. Most bounce houses are equipped with slots for stakes, and are sold with stakes. Failing to use these safety features is clearly negligent. Especially if the weather was very windy, the rental company should have known better.
Even if the ride was properly secured and set up, the person who rented the ride and invited people to use it could still be responsible. If the weather was so extreme that it blew a secured ride full of people, perhaps the bounce house should not have been open. It may be the rental company or renter’s responsibility to decide that the weather was unsafe for the attraction.
Amusement Injury Attorneys in Philadelphia
Regardless of who is responsible, when you or your child faces injury in an amusement accident, our attorneys can help. The Reiff Law Firm has years of experience handling small and high profile amusement injury cases and helping our clients get the compensation they need for medical bills and pain and suffering. For a free consultation for injuries on a bounce house, or any amusement or other injury, call our lawyers at (215) 246-9000.