People from across the world flock to Florida to go to Walt Disney World in Orlando or Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, and for good reason. Amusement parks are a great way for families to spend time together. From rides, to carnival games, to concerts and shows, there is something fun for all ages. They are places where one can experience thrills without the fear of real danger. However, despite the constant upkeep and inspection of rides, sometimes there is negligence and accidents may occur.
A recent report, made public by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, found that in mid-April, a 12-year-old boy suffered severe lacerations on four of his fingers while riding on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. This is the same ride that a British tourist was on when he lost two of his fingertips from his right hand just two weeks ago.
Amusement parks aren’t as amusing when they’re the source of your injuries, are they? Being injured in one of these parks—Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, for example—could land you a case under three different categories of tort law: general negligence, product liability, and premises liability.
General Negligence is clearly a broad term. It’s essentially any sustained injuries, pain, or suffering that can blamed on someone’s lack of care.
Product Liability would be, for example, a scenario where the headrest on a roller coaster seat fell off and the passenger’s neck was thrown back further than it should have been, causing overextension injuries and minor nerve damage, or whiplash. Product liability is, in itself, a very complex legal area which involves many parties ranging from the staff, product manufacturers, ride assemblers, and many more.
Premises Liability has the most aspects out of all three of the categories. It’s all based upon what type of attendee you were, if you were invited, what sort of treatment they provided to you as a guest, etc. The park is expected and legally required to provide park attendees with certain information and warnings (via signs, waivers, contracts, etc.) and failure to do so is more common than you’d imagine.
WHO IS LIABLE FOR AMUSMENT PARK INJURIES?
It is the amusement parks responsibility to ensure that:
- All rides and equipment are in good and working order.
- Warnings are posted if a ride is dangerous for someone suffering from a specific medical condition.
- Signs are posted warning riders of the inherent risk involved.
- Operators are properly trained.
- Rides are properly inspected.
- Rides are operated properly.
- Proper and correct instructions are given to riders.
Also, the manufacturer of the equipment may be liable as well if a part of the ride is proven defective. The structure or design of the ride may also be defective and lead to injury. Amusement parks will try and defend claims using assumption of risk, which is when the risks are made to clear to a participant, and they choose to participate anyway. However, just because the participant knowingly rides a roller coaster does not mean they fall under that blanket. The participant has to be aware of the risks involved. For example, it is impossible for the participant to know if the ride was inspected properly or that a wheel is too loose on the cart.
A rider must also comply with safety rules, such as buckling seatbelts, keeping both hands and feet inside of the car, and abiding by the height and weight requirements. If a rider is in violation of these safety rules, the amusement park will most likely may not be found negligent.
Can I Be Compensated For The Injuries?
This is a question that likely cannot be solved through reading a vague article. Because of those signs, waivers, contracts, etc. that I mentioned above, your decision to board the roller coaster or other ride means you’re taking an assumed risk. They let you know that you could get hurt, so they’re not responsible if and when it happens.
It’s not that simple though. They can’t just throw up a sign that reads: “Could cause injuries or death” and instantly become immune to civil liability. It depends on the severity of the injuries, the complexity of the warnings, the jury, and finally, the judge.
(If you’d like a professional opinion on the strength of your legal case, consider contacting an experienced and licensed personal injury lawyer that can tell you right now, completely free of charge.)
CONTACT TAMPA BAY PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS DOLMAN LAW GROUP
Serious injuries can be suffered if amusement parks are negligent in the maintenance of their rides and training of their staff. Like the report mentioned earlier in this blog, nobody should have to witness their child get harmed on a day when fun was all that was on the schedule. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we fight to hold those negligent responsible for the harm they cause. If you believe you or a loved one suffered an injury on an amusement park ride as a result of that park’s negligence, contact our personal injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA by calling 727-451-6900 or emailing [email protected] for a free consultation. We will be happy to take a look at your situation and determine if you have a claim.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765