A recent BBC article reported on a child whose “bounce castle” took flight. One minute, the nine-year-old boy was enjoying jumping in the bouncy castle his parents had rented for a party. The next minute, the bouncy castle rolled onto the street, where it was struck by an oncoming car. The boy fell out of the castle and onto the road. Fortunately, he only suffered minor injuries. He was transported by an ambulance to a nearby hospital.
According to the San Bernardino police, the driver of the car was shaken by the incident but didn’t suffer any harm. The boy was lucky he wasn’t killed or that he didn’t break any bones. Police said the high desert winds, of near tornado force, were a contributing factor.
Parents should make sure that bouncy castles are tethered to the ground. One officer, Sergeant Bracco, suggested using heavy objects such as weights or buckets with water to secure the castle. The heavy objects are in addition to hammering stakes into the ground. The officer indicated stakes often come loose.
Bounce houses are pretty dangerous
Every kid loves a bounce house, we know – but they’re not particularly safe. Videos abound on the internet of these giant balloons flying through the air. USA TODAY reported that “The estimated number of injuries on the attractions soared from 5,311 in 2003 to 17,377 in 2013, according to a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report analyzing U.S. hospital records.”
Making a claim for injuries
In Florida, property owners have a duty to the public to make their property safe. This duty applies to any invitees to the property. Invitees are generally people invited onto the property with the purpose of financially benefitting the property owner. Examples include contractors who do home repairs and shoppers who visit property to make purchases.
Property owners also owe a duty to licensees to make their property safe. Licensees include people who have permission to be on the property even if they are not financially benefitting the property owner. A child who visits a friend and is injured on someone else’s property generally falls into this classification. So, if parents fail to secure a bouncy castle and a friend is killed or hurt while using the castle, the friend (or the parents of the friend) could demand that the homeowners be held accountable.
The company which rents out the houses may also share liability. For example, experts told NBC News that if winds reach between 15 and 20 mph, no child should be allowed inside the bounce house. They also recommend that the stakes used to weigh the house down be at least 18” long, and that sand bags be used to keep the house secure on concrete. If these warning are not issued by the rental company (or within the packaging if you purchase such an item yourself), or if they fail to provide the necessary safety equipment, you may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer and/or rental company.
Don’t assume you don’t have a case when accidents happen. There are different theories for holding defendants liable. At Yeboah Law Group, our experienced personal injury lawyers have a strong record of success filing premises liability and car accident cases. We understand who is responsible and why for Fort Lauderdale, Maimi, and South Florida accidents. To schedule a free consultation now, please call us at (800) TELL-SAM or complete our contact form.