Question: We are having a party for my kid's birthday, and she wants it with a bounce house and other outside attractions in our backyard. I am concerned with my liability if someone gets injured at the party. What are my rights? — Amanda
Answer: You are rightfully concerned about this because you may be sued if someone gets injured on your property. The suit will likely accuse you of being negligent in your duties to keep your property safe.
You, as the homeowner and the party-giver, have the responsibility to act in a reasonably prudent way, considering the circumstances. This means that if a child is hurt as a pure accident not caused by negligence, you should be clear of any liability for the injuries.
Attractions such as bounce houses and trampolines have some inherent danger, so you should carefully manage the children and restrict how many play at one time. Also, ensure that the attraction is properly set up and secured to the ground. Read and follow the warnings from the manufacturer and rent from a reputable dealer to make sure the equipment is properly cared for.
Even if you are very careful, but a child is still injured, you still could be sued. Check your homeowner's insurance for this type of coverage and consider purchasing an umbrella policy for additional, inexpensive, coverage. Speak to your agent if you are unsure about what your policy covers.
It is also important that you do not let your concern about being sued stop you from enjoying your life and property. There are millions of incident-free backyard parties every year. While it is great that you are aware of the potential issue, use this concern to take reasonable precautions for the safety of your guests and make it a great, and safe, party for your little one.