If you or a loved one has been injured due to neglect on behalf of a bounce house operator, you may want to speak with the lawyers at Johnson // Becker.
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One windy day in April 2019, a 76-year-old woman arrived at the Minnesota church she had been attending for many years. She got out of her car and began to walk to the building.
Without warning, she was suddenly knocked from her feet and slammed onto the parking lot pavement. The object that crashed into was not a car. It was an inflatable bounce house.
The bounce house (also commonly called a “bouncy house” or a “bounce castle”) had been set up outside for cleaning for an upcoming event. It had been inflated, but not anchored to anything, despite the instructions printed on the side of it, and despite the gusty winds that day. In turn, a single gust of wind was all it took to knock the woman down, injuring her severely.
The woman was left with a broken bones in her arm, ribs, and pelvis, and a traumatic brain injury that dramatically affected her memory. Her medical treatment and recovery process were extensive, and she suffered lingering after effects long after the incident.
When she was forced to sue for her injuries and medical expenses, the defense argued there was no way that such an incident could have been foreseen. They claimed it was an “Act of God” over which they had no control – a rarely applicable legal defense – in an attempt to avoid responsible for causing great harm to the woman who they claimed was “loved” and like “family”.
Attorneys at Johnson//Becker fought for the injured client, with facts to prove the defense could easily have easily prevented the incident by following the simple printed instructions on the bounce house, or exercising ordinary judgment given the windy conditions that day. The wind had been gusting upwards of 20 mph for much of the day before the incident and was forecast and reported on by the local weather stations.
Ultimately, the jury agreed with the injured victim and awarded her a seven-figure verdict to compensate her for her injuries after a 4-day trial.
Bounce House Accident Statistics
This case is not unusual. Amazingly, injuries due to bounce houses are common, and frequently happen under similar circumstances – when the organization using them fails to follow the safety recommendations printed on the equipment to assure safe operation.
Though they look like nothing but fun, the inflatable playhouses are responsible for thousands of injuries each year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which has repeatedly issued safety warnings about bounce houses.
A 2022 study by researchers at the University of Georgia found at least 479 injuries and 28 deaths worldwide caused by bounce castles affected by wind, dating back to 2000. As shown in the case of the woman injured in Minnesota, it doesn’t take a tornado for the bounce house to be propelled by the wind. They are usually quite heavy, weighing between 100-300 pounds depending on their size, and once they are airborne they may as well be a wrecking ball.
Even on “good weather days,” bounce houses pose a risk if they are not set up properly. A third of the incidents reported in that Georgia study occurred at wind speeds below 20 miles an hour.
The authors of that study now maintain a page attempting to document bounce house injuries as they happen. A map reveals that bounce house accidents can happen virtually anywhere.
Bounce House Wind Incident Map
The most recent U.S. fatality documented by the researchers occurred in Reno, Nevada, when two children were playing in a bounce house that was lifted into the air and blew into power lines. A nine-year-old girl was electrocuted; her family later sued a local bounce house business, alleging it failed to properly set up its inflatables or warn customers of the risks.
As accidents continue to happen, litigation is soon to follow. As it should. Parents and children view bounce houses as a novel chance for fun, but operators and hosts should be held accountable when they ignore the most basic guidelines to keep kids safe. Unfortunately, the consequences of failing to follow the basic safety instructions can be catastrophic.
Bounce House Lawsuits in the News
In Florida, a girl and her mother sued after a bounce house the girl was in was lifted into the air by a tornado; she suffered a concussion when the bounce house crashed back to the ground. The lawsuit alleged that operators had failed to monitor the weather that day and were not trained in how to respond to an emergency.
In New York, a family sued after two of their children were injured by a bounce house that became airborne due to a gust of wind. The children sustained “serious injuries” in the crash. Their lawsuits alleged the bounce house was “defectively designed.”
In New Mexico, a woman sued after her children were injured when a bounce house was flipped over by strong wind, trapping them underneath. The lawsuit alleged that the company that set up the bounce house failed to properly secure it to the ground.
Questions about a Bounce House Lawsuit? Contact our Lawyers for a Free Case Review.
If you or a loved one were injured by an improperly installed or operated bounce house, you may want to speak with the lawyers at Johnson // Becker.
We offer a Free Case Evaluation. Please contact us using the form below or by calling us at (800) 279-6386.