Child Injured in Sumo Suit Raises Liability Questions

A Florida charter school is being sued by a student for personal injuries arising from a traumatic brain injury suffered during an organized and sanctioned school function featuring, of all things, Sumo Wrestling. The tragedy brings up questions about who is at fault when events such as these go wrong; our Miami injury attorneys may be able to provide valuable answers.

Sumo Suit

What Exactly Happened?

The event featured large, inflatable suits, which children (and adults) fit themselves into. The size of the suit is supposed to allow them to smash into each other in the same way that a sumo wrestler might, and also allows the user to tumble, roll around, and bounce off the floor and walls, presumably protected by the large inflatable “body” that they are fitted inside of. The activity is often used at carnivals or festivals, and can even be rented for private functions.

The suit alleges that the student suffered brain damage after having her head bashed when it repeatedly hit the floor, unprotected by the inflatable suit. The student suffered immediate dizziness and cognitive problems, and now, the suit alleges, suffers from severe brain damage.

Who is responsible for the injuries? Many entities have been sued, but in situations like this, there can be many possibilities as to who is really responsible:

  1. The School – The school may have been aware that such an activity was dangerous, or could be dangerous. The school’s employees may also lack the training required to fit the suits on children, determine what age or size children are best fitted for the suits, or sense when there’s a problem during the activity.
  2. The Company Providing the Suits – The company also may not have had employees present that could recognize problems or fit the suits properly. Company employees may have been rushed or distracted, leading to a failure to properly ensure suits were fitted and secured.
  3. The Manufacturer or Designer of the Suit – It is possible everyone present was doing their job, but the suits themselves failed. This would be an action in products liability—the usage of a product with a defective design, or a product that had a good design but just failed. If, for example, a suit tore, loosening the student in the suit enough to hit her head, there would be a products liability problem.

Unfortunately, many people who are injured during recreational activities may assume the problem is theirs—that they took the risk, or voluntarily assumed the risk of injury by participating in a particular activity. And surely, there are instances in law where we recognize that you cannot claim injury that naturally arises from a dangerous activity.

But most of the time, when something goes unexpectedly wrong, such as in this case, someone somewhere failed to act reasonably. Even a parachuter jumping out of a plane has a right to expect that his parachute won’t malfunction, or that it is made in a way to slow a fall to a safe speed when it is extracted.

Our Attorneys Are Here to Help You

Don’t assume that because you may be injured while engaging in a recreational activity or one that may even seem inherently dangerous, nobody is responsible for your injuries. Talk to the Miami personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Photo Credit: jonoakley via Compfight cc

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