What if a Child is Injured at a Bounce House Rented or Owned by a School, Theme Park, Day Care Center, or Homeowner? Legal Rights of the Injured Child
Over the summer and other times of year, children can spend hours of time enjoying the fun and activity in a bounce house. It should be noted that with any bounce house activity or similar activity - a child could suffer injuries through no fault of the property owner, management company, or owner / renter of the bounce house. Injuries happen; however, it should also be noted that many bounce house related activities result from a lack of proper set up and / or a lack of proper adult supervision. Let's discuss an example. Let's say a homeowner rents a bounce house. The homeowner's four year old and his friend (also 4 years old) are playing in the bounce house. The homeowner decides to leave the children alone to cook a meal and check on some e-mails. While the boys are outside in the bounce house, another child, who is 12 years old and much larger than the other children, visits the home and bounces in the bounce house with the 4 year old boys. The 12 year old is doing a back flip and lands on the 4 year old child who was visiting the home. The boy suffers a fractured leg and is treated at a local emergency room and later by an orthopedic surgeon. Under this general fact scenario, there would be a case or claim to pursue against the homeowner for failure to supervise the children. Had the homeowner been properly supervising the bounce house area, the 12 year old would be been kept out of the bounce house until the 4 year old boys needed a break and then the 12 year old boy - who had visited the home on many occasions and was a friend of the family - could have safely used the bounce house on his owner. Like other personal injury cases, there are essentially four elements to establish a claim or case against a homeowner for negligence:
- Breach of Duty;
- Causation; and
The homeowner had a duty to supervise the children. The homeowner breached this duty when she left the bounce house area to cook a meal and check on her e-mails. The failure of proper supervision caused the bounce house area to be used without restriction by the 12 year old visiting boy. As a result of this breach of duty, the 4 year old visiting friend was injured. A case can be pursued; however, it shoudl be pointed out that many Child Injury Lawyers will only take on a case if there is homeowner's insurance or liability insurance to cover the personal injuries. Under the aforementioned case scenario, here are some questions that will be addressed by the Florida Child Injury Lawyer:
- Did the homeowner have homeowner's insurance?
- If there is homeowner's insurance, is there coverage for bounce house related personal injuries?
- If there is homeowner's insurance, is there an exclusion in the policy for bounce house related personal injuries?
With respect to commercial establishments /businesses like theme parks, amusement parks, shopping centers, and other places, a Florida Child Injury Lawyer will also look for liability insurance coverage; however, a case may still be pursued from a practical standpoint even if there is no liability insurance in place. For instance, major companies like Wal-Mart and Disney are self-insured; however, each company has substantial assets to cover insurance claims or cases. It should be noted that just because there is a lot of insurance coverage AND / OR assets by the Defendant - this does not mean that there will be a big settlement OR any settlement at all. A case must still be supported by the facts and elements as described above.
The book titled - The ABCs of Child Injury - Legal Rights of the Injured Child - What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Homeowner's Insurance, Amusement and Theme Park Injuries, Swimming and Water Park Injuries, and other topics. You can get his book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.