Be Aware of Potential Hazards at Outdoor Parties & Events
Even though autumn is upon us, the ongoing pleasant weather often allows us to continue to have parties, picnics and carnivals outdoors for at least another few weeks until the temperature drops. While these events are typically fun and enjoyable, it is important to note that accidents can happen at such events, and sometimes the consequences are quite serious.
In one such recent accident, a man was attending his wife’s company picnic in New Jersey. The company holding the picnic had rented a Eurobungy bungee-trampoline device for the event. The device consists of a trampoline base and a harness with bungee cords on each side, which are attached to poles extending from the trampoline’s base. A user is strapped into the harness, hoisted into the air, and encouraged to jump on the trampoline while holding onto the bungee cords. From there, the operator of the device can control how high the user is lifted into the air.
While the rider was descending from a jump, the operator began lifting him again before his feet had a chance to touch down on the trampoline. As a result, the rider’s left arm took the full force of his descent. The man immediately felt severe pain in the arm and was diagnosed with a hyperextension injury and a rupture of the distal biceps tendon, which required surgery to repair. He then had physical therapy and incurred about $8,500 in medical expenses. He continues to suffer from pain, weakness and a reduced range of motion in the arm. He also has two large scars on the arm from the surgery.
The rider and his wife sued the companies that rented the Eurobungy equipment and provided the operator. They also sued the manufacturer of the device and the establishment where the picnic event took place. The plaintiffs alleged that the rental companies failed to properly train the operator.
Additionally, they alleged in their lawsuit that the location where the picnic occurred had permitted a hazardous activity on the premises, and that the device manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings and safety instructions. The parties settled during mediation for $307,500 including $252,500 from one rental company, $37,500 from the manufacturer, $10,000 from the facility that held the event, $5,000 from the other rental company and $2,500 from the company that organized the event.
This case illustrates the importance of always remaining careful when going on a ride or similar attraction at an event, fair, amusement park or similar place. Although rides can be fun, there also are risk involved in riding and operating them. If a ride looks unsafe, don’t go on it. Instead, report the issue to management and other authorities, including the police if necessary.