Amusement ride company ordered to pay child substantial damages in compensation for inflatable ride accident at a local club

PUBLISHED 24 May 2017

Our client was a child who attended with his family to a local club in the south west of sydney, in relation to a children’s annual party where amusement rides were made available for the children as part of the festivities.

An amusement hire service company had agreed to supply a number of amusement rides to the club for use at the children’s annual party. Included in this was the supply of a tall inflatable slide which consisted of two slides coming down the outside of an inflatable apparatus. The top of these slides were accessible by children through steps running up the middle of the apparatus (the slide).

During the morning before lunch our client was coming down the slide when he bounced and he flew through the air and landed on his right arm sustaining injury. There was no supervision by staff on the amusement ride by the company as required by relevant regulations, and there was no evidence that the parents were in any way responsible or the cause of their son using the ride at the time. The amusement ride company had the total responsibility for the operation and use of the ride at all times.

It was alleged that at all material times the amusement hire services company which ran an amusement hire service company and who supplied the amusement rides to the club owed our client a duty of care to ensure that the slide was adequate for its intended purpose and that it was supervised so that the children were instructed how to use the slide safely.

It was alleged that the risk of not properly supervising and instructing the children would be that they would come down the slide in a dangerous manner and sustain injury and this was a foreseeable risk and the risk of harm was not insignificant.

It was also alleged that the amusement hire company was negligent in causing our client’s injury in that it failed to adequately supervise the children, failed to provide adequate instructions to our client before coming down the slide, failed to adequately man the slide, failed to operate the slide in a safe manner, failed to provide signage to inform parents of how the ride was to be used safely, failed to provide verbal instructions at the time and failed to effectively operate and supervise the subject slide in accordance with the australian standards and occupational health and safety legislation.

As a result of the accident, our client suffered a fractured right elbow and a fractured right arm as well as consequently psychological injury arising from the accident. He required a closed reduction and k-wire operation to the fractured right elbow. A further operation was required to remove the k-wires from the right elbow and right arm.

The amusement hire company sought to avoid liability in the claim. We launched legal proceedings against them in negligence with respect to our client’s injuries, losses and damages. They filed a defence denying all liability in relation to the claim.

We obtained a liability expert report in the matter which addressed all of the issues of negligence against them and their failure to comply with the relevant occupational health and safety guidelines as well as workcover guidelines in the matter.

After our client’s condition had stabilised, we arranged for them to be medically examined and assessed by an orthopaedic surgeon and a psychologist to determine the full extent of his injuries, losses and damages.

The medical evidence was quite supportive of the infant’s position concerning the full extent of his injuries arising from the accident.

The defendant’s legal representatives on behalf of the amusement hire services company did not obtain any medical or liability expert evidence in reply. Even though they denied liability, they took the opportunity to seek to resolve the matter before the matter proceeded to a court hearing.

As a result of our client being a child, the matter was listed for infant approval before a judge of the court. Having considered the medical and liability expert evidence and the factual, medical and liability issues in dispute, the infant approval judge approved the settlement between the parties on a plus costs basis. In other words, the infant received an award of compensation which would be invested on his behalf with the new south wales trustee and guardian until he received 18 years of age. In addition to that, the defendant agreed to pay our legal costs on a plus costs basis which was a very good outcome for our client.

Our client was awarded substantial damages of compensation in negligence for the injury of his fractured right elbow and fractured right arm as well as the psychological consequences of the injury. He has been able to return to school and he is managing reasonably well in the circumstances.

Even though the amusement hire services company that supplied the amusement rides to the club at the time denied liability and sought to avoid liability, once we commenced court proceedings, the matte was referred on to their insurer and their legal representatives to resolve as soon as possible. It was a very good outcome and our client was happy with the outcome of the settlement of the claim and her son being awarded substantial damages in negligence which would be investigated on his behalf until he reached 18 years of age.

Conclusion

If you are a lawful entrant of an occupier at a club and suffer injuries as a result of their negligence or the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to receive a substantial award of damages in compensation with respect to your injuries and disabilities arising from the accident.

Our client was a child in this accident and as a result of suffering an injury whilst using a large inflatable slide provided by the amusement hire services company at the local club, we were able to establish negligence against the amusement hire services company with respect to our client’s injuries, losses and damages.

It was our view that the amusement hire services company was negligent in causing our client’s injuries, losses and damages for the reasons as outlined above addressing the particulars of negligence. Even though they had denied liability, we had provided a liability expert report which in our view was quite compelling in the circumstances.

We obtained medical reports from our client’s treating doctors and specialists and hospitals which confirmed the full extent of his injuries and disabilities arising from the accident.

As a result, the defendant’s legal representatives were interested in resolving the matter at the earliest opportunity and it was agreed that our client was awarded substantial damages in compensation as a result of the negligence of the amusement hire services company who supplied the amusement rides to the local club for their annual christmas party where our client was injured.

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