Getting injured at an amusement park is something most people never imagine would happen to them. Sure, you read about it in the paper and hear about it on the news but that’s something that happens to “other people”. Then one day on a fun family trip to the amusement park or the local county fair, someone in your family or someone you know gets hurt.
Amusement Park Injury Facts
According to The Consumer Safety Product Commission, about 9,000 people are injured at an amusement park every year (this number only accounts for injuries that required emergency room visits.) Additionally, 3,000 people are reported to have been injured on inflatable rides at amusement parks and yet another 3,000 are injured on water park slides. As you can clearly see, amusement park injuries are unavoidable, and where there is injury, also comes consequence.
Legal claims after being injured at an amusement park
Two types of legal claims typically take place after an injury incident at an amusement park. Although many different types of injuries may occur in an amusement park setting, they will most commonly be filed as either a negligence claim or product liability claim.
Amusement Park Negligence Claims
If an amusement park accident was caused by the carelessness or inattention of the park or a park employee, then negligence played a part in the injury. The “defendant” must make rides safe for reasonably foreseeable use. This includes adequate restraints, frequent maintenance and inspections, clear safety instructions and employee supervision.
As with all businesses, the amusement park defendant (which is typically a corporation or other business entity) can also be liable for employee negligence. This could involve failing to adequately instruct patrons about proper use of rides, failing to conduct proper crowd control, failing to control animals during shows, etc.
Some examples of how negligence could be the cause of injury include:
- Amusement park fails to post warning signs about the possibility of injury
- Amusement park doesn’t post warning signs about health risks
- Amusement park doesn’t properly train employees on safety or ride operation
- Employee improperly operates a ride resulting in injury
- Employee doesn’t provide correct safety information about a ride
Many more examples exist, but this should give you an idea of the number of ways in which an amusement park may be held liable when negligence results in injury.
Amusement Park Product Liability Claims
Product liability claims come in to play when something malfunctions leading to injury. For example, if a safety latch doesn’t close properly or a piece of machinery malfunctions, often times the liability will fall on to the manufacturer of the ride.
Structural or design defects in the ride may also result in defective product liability claims against the manufacturer of the ride or the maker of the defective part. This is a claim that you may discuss further with your product liability attorney.
Common Defenses The Amusement Parks Use
There are a few things to consider before filing an injury claim with an amusement park. There are many defenses the park may claim in the case, but there are a few common defenses that you can count on.
Assumption of the Risk: “You knew what you walked in to”
An amusement park may make the argument that you knew what risks you were taking when you stepped in to the amusement park and on to the ride, therefore you assume the risk and are held accountable. This is not a blanket defense and it varies state to state.
Rider Non-compliance with Safety Rules: “The rider didn’t follow the rules”
An amusement park is going to look to see if a rider followed the posted rules especially dealing with age, weight, height or safety requirements. When a rider doesn’t follow the rules, the park is going to argue that they are no longer held responsible.
Disclaimer of the Amusement Park Ticket: “Did you read the fine print?”
Many amusement parks will attempt to use the defense that their liability disclaimer is placed on the ticket in print that you purchased. This does not hold up strongly in court, but is commonly used as a defense.
Stay Safe While Riding
The important lesson to take away and reduce the chance of being injured at an amusement park is to think about safety. Some simple, yet important tips to remember when visiting amusement parks include:
- Read and follow all rules and restrictions
- Be sure the rides are appropriate for the rider (age, height, weight, etc.)
- Double check all restraining bars and latches- don’t count on park employees solely
- Stay in “locked and loaded” position for the entire ride until it is completely stopped
- Take frequent breaks especially when riding very fast rides
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day
- Never ride while under the influence
- Use good judgment- don’t get on a ride that doesn’t look well maintained
If you have been injured in an amusement park accident or have any questions relating to the matter, you should contact a personal injury expert at David & Philpot, P.L. as soon as possible. We’ve been helping Florida accident victims for over 20 years and are here to answer any questions you may have. If you choose us to represent you in your claim, we are prepared to fight the big corporations and insurance companies to get you the settlement you deserve. Contact us today at 800.360.7015 for a free consultation.