Nowadays, you don’t just see bouncy castles at village summer fetes. Instead, you’ll find them in shopping centres, soft play areas and leisure centres as well. While bouncy castles provide a lot of fun for children, if they’re not used properly, they can be dangerous. Accidents on bouncy castles can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities on rare occasions. Bouncy castle accident claims may be possible if your child was injured because of the castle owner’s negligence.
To help you understand your options, we provide free legal advice as part of an initial consultation. After we’ve reviewed your bouncy castle accident claim with you, we could connect you with one of our personal injury solicitors. Importantly, they won’t ask you to pay any legal fees in advance as any accepted claim will be managed on a No Win No Fee basis. That means that you can seek justice for your child without any financial risks.
If you’d like to talk about a bouncy castle injury claim, please call us on 0800 6524 881 today. If you’d like to know more before calling, please continue reading.
Table of contents
- Legislation Regarding Bouncy Castles
- Am I Eligible To Make A Bouncy Castle Accident Claim?
- Common Bouncy Castle Accidents
- What Types Of Negligence Could I Claim Compensation For?
- How Much Compensation For A Bouncy Castle Accident Could I Claim?
- How Do I Claim Compensation For My Child?
- Evidence To Support A Bouncy Castle Accident Claim
- Time Limits For Claiming Compensation
- Starting The Bouncy Castle Accident Claims Process
In reality, there isn’t actually that much legislation aimed directly at bouncy castle hire businesses. However, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a bouncy castle should have:
- Documentation to prove they comply with British Standard BS EN 14960.
- A numbered PIPA (Professional Inflatable Play Association) tag or an ADIPS (Amusement Device Inspection Procedures Scheme) compliance declaration.
These are both legal requirements that bouncy castle hirers must abide by.
There is also a voluntary group, the British Inflatable Hirers Alliance (BIHA) that provides advice and guidance on how to make the use of bouncy castles as safe as possible. BIHA strongly recommends that public liability insurance is taken out by bouncy castle hirers. This is the type of insurance that could be claimed against if your child is injured on a bouncy castle.
Our personal injury solicitors can only take on bouncy castle accident claims where there is a reasonable chance of success. To assess the viability of your claim, your solicitor will check whether:
- The bouncy castle owner or operator was negligent in some way; and
- An accident happened on or around the bouncy castle; and
- Your child was injured as a result.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure who to claim against (the operator or owner of the bouncy castle) as this is something we’ll assess during your free consultation.
To help prove how your child was injured and why they should be compensated, you should try to collect as much evidence as possible. This is something your solicitor will help with and we’ll explain the types of evidence that could help later on.
If used correctly, bouncy castles should be safe to use, however, accidents can occur if safety procedures and precautions are ignored. This could be either because of negligence on the part of the person setting it up or the carelessness of those using the equipment.
The most common causes of bouncy castle accidents include but are not limited to:
- Over-inflating or under-inflating any of the sections of the bouncy castle.
- Not inspecting for punctures that may cause the bouncy castle to deflate through a loss of pressure.
- Not placing appropriate safety mats around the bouncy castle.
- Faulty safety mats.
- Lack of supervision.
- Allowing too many users on the bouncy castle at the same time increasing the risk of suffocation or entrapment in case of an emergency.
- Instability or even blowing away in extremely windy weather conditions.
- Allowing users to play on the bouncy castle while wearing unsuitable clothing or footwear that could injure others.
- Allowing older and younger children to use the equipment at the same time.
- Not controlling boisterous behaviour.
- Inadequate fire escape measures.
- Leaving generators and air pumps unguarded or inadequately protected.
- Not placing the proper protective covering on guy ropes or anchorages.
Regardless of the exact cause of the accident, if your child was injured in a bouncy castle accident, you might have a case to file a claim for compensation.
Bouncy castle injuries can range from minor injuries such as cuts, bruises, and sprains, to much more severe injuries. Some common injuries might include:
- Whiplash injuries (damage to soft tissues in the shoulders and neck).
- Fractures and broken bones.
- Head injuries.
- Cuts and bruises.
- Sprains, strains and muscle tears.
- Spinal injury.
As detailed in an earlier section, if you or your child is to be compensated for a bouncy castle accident, the operator or owner must have been negligent in some way. Examples of negligence that could lead to bouncy castle accident claims include:
- Adverse weather conditions. Operators of bouncy castles should monitor weather conditions and not allow them to be used in high winds for example.
- Lack of supervision. While operators can’t be held responsible for the actions of children, they should monitor all participants and remove anybody who may be endangering the safety of others.
- Deflating bouncy castles. When a bouncy castle does not have enough air inside, it can pose a serious health and safety risk. Therefore, operators should monitor air pressure and top up the bouncy castle where necessary.
- Falls. It is common for children to fall off of bouncy castles. Realistically, this isn’t always avoidable so operators should use safety mats to create as soft a landing area as possible.
- Trapped children. It is possible for a child to become trapped in a bouncy castle if it is not fully inflated or erected correctly.
- Trips on ropes. Bouncy castles need to be anchored down to prevent them from moving or blowing away. However, the ropes used to become a trip hazard. Therefore, any excess rope should be put away and anchor ropes should be made as visible as possible.
- Poor anchorage. If a bouncy castle is not secured properly, it can be moved quite easily. This means that a child could miss a safety mat when falling out of the bouncy castle. In 2016, a seven-year-old girl tragically died when a bouncy castle blew away because it was not anchored properly.
As you can see, there are unfortunately many ways in which a child could be injured on a bouncy castle. If you believe your child’s injuries were caused by negligence, please speak to one of our advisors about the possibility of claiming compensation.
If your child is compensated following an accident on a bouncy castle, their settlement could potentially cover:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Any mental trauma.
- Loss of enjoyment of your child’s normal hobbies while injured.
- Future loss of earnings if the injuries result in a permanent disability.
- Care costs, travel expenses and medical costs.
- Mobility aids.
- The modification of your home to install hoists, lifts or handrails to make it easier to deal with the effects of long-term injuries.
During a personal injury claim, your child will need to have an independent medical assessment. This isn’t anything to be concerned about and you’ll be able to attend the meeting with your child.
During the appointment, a specialist will examine the injuries, review any medical records and find out how your child has been affected. The medical report will be used to determine your child’s prognosis.
At that point, your solicitor will be able to determine how much compensation to claim on behalf of your child.
Legally, children are not allowed to represent themselves in legal matters. That means they cannot make personal injury claims alone. However, parents, guardians or responsible adults can become the child’s litigation friend so that a claim can proceed.
This is a process that our solicitors can help with. Once you’ve received approval, you’ll be able to instruct the solicitor and make decisions on your child’s behalf.
If the claim is won, the settlement amount will be reviewed by a court to make sure that it’s fair and held in a trust account until your child turns 18 years old. Before then, you’ll be able to write to the court when funds are needed to help your child.
Some of the steps listed below could help as evidence if you decide to claim compensation for your child’s injuries:
- Take photographs or videos to try and show how your child was injured by the bouncy castle.
- Take your child to a hospital or your GP to have their injuries checked properly. X-rays and medical notes could be used to prove the extent of their injuries.
- Collect the contact details of anybody who saw your child get injured. Witness statements might be taken by your solicitor at a later date if necessary.
- Report the incident to the operator. If they write an accident report, you could use this to prove when and where the accident occurred.
- If by any chance CCTV captured the bouncy castle accident request a copy of the footage.
- Seek legal advice to see whether you have grounds to start a bouncy castle accident claim.
Although there is a 3-year time limit for personal injury claims, it doesn’t start for cases involving children until they turn 18. That means a litigation friend can claim on behalf of a child at any time before that date.
Although that leaves what may seem like plenty of time, we’d suggest starting a bouncy castle accident claim as soon as possible. By doing so, there will be ample time to collect evidence and your child could benefit from private medical treatment of their injuries if the defendant accepts liability for the accident.
If you’d like us to check your eligibility to claim, please call us free on 0800 6524 881. Your claim will be checked by a specialist and we’ll offer no-obligation legal advice about your chances.
To help remove the stress associated with taking legal action, your solicitor will work on a No Win No Fee basis if they take on your claim.
To ask anything immediately about the bouncy castle accident claims process, please consider chatting with one of our online advisors.