Visitor Question

Liability for child injured in inflatable “hamster ball”?

Submitted By: Marci (Lafayette, CA)

My daughter was in a giant inflatable “hamster” ball. The guy supervising did not stop other kids from pushing the ball around so fast that my daughter was tossed around inside it yelling “Stop! Stop!” She landed on her neck/chest and now has severe neck, chest, shoulder and back pain. I’ve been giving her ibuprofen and am taking her to the chiropractor tomorrow.

Is the company who was hired to bring the giant inflatable ball responsible? The guy watching over it seemed negligent in providing a safe environment . We never signed a release of liability waiver. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Marci,

The company supplying the large inflatable hamster ball had a legal duty of care to take reasonable action to assure the ball was safe for those children for whom the ball was intended to be used. This duty of care extended to the protection of your daughter. In his capacity as an employee of the company, the man attending the ball shared the duty of care with his employer.

To recover compensation from the company will require you to prove three legal elements. They are:

1) Breach of legal duty of care:

The company had a legal duty to take reasonable action to protect your daughter from harm, and they failed in that duty.

2) Damages:

Your daughter sustained “damages,” which can include her medical bills, your out of pocket costs for her medication, the costs of travel to and from the doctor, your lost wages if you had to take time off from work to care for your daughter, and possibly an amount for her pain and suffering.

3) Causation:

The company, through its employee, caused your daughter’s injuries

Inasmuch as your daughter’s injuries don’t appear to be serious, it will be difficult to find a personal injury attorney to agree to represent her.

Instead:

  • Gather copies of your daughter’s medical bills, and receipts for your out of pocket expenses.
  • Gather the names and contact information of any adults who may have witnessed the event. Ask the witnesses if they would agree to confirm the facts as you know them if contacted by the company.
  • Obtain a written letter from your employer confirming the dates you were not present, and the amount of wages you lost.
  • Contact the company.

Ask the owner or manager of the company to reimburse you for the above costs. Hopefully, he or she will agree. Because your daughter’s injuries were not more serious, it is not realistic to think the company will agree to pay any additional amounts for your daughter’s pain and suffering.

Finally, if you are unable to come to an agreement with the company, you can consider filing a claim in one of California’s Small Claims Courts. The jurisdiction, meaning the the court’s authority, is to hear cases in controversy up to and including $10,000. Here is the link.

California Courts – Judicial Branch

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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