If you were injured in an accident while riding on an amusement park ride, you may have several different types of legal claims available to you. The specific claims you might assert will depend on the circumstances of the accident. Two of the more common kinds of legal claims asserted in amusement park accidents lawsuits are claims of negligence and claims of product liability.
A negligence claim in an amusement park accident lawsuit alleges that park employees and officials were careless, inattentive, or reckless in the performance of their duties. This may include carelessness in maintaining an amusement park ride, inattentiveness by ride operators and failure to timely or properly react to a developing emergency situation, or negligence in properly instructing and warning park patrons. Examples of specific negligence claims in amusement park accident cases include:
- Failure to post signs that warn riders of the risks of a ride or advise patrons with certain physical issues or limitations not to ride
- Failure to properly train ride operators
- Failure to regularly inspect rides and promptly perform all necessary and recommended maintenance
- Improperly instructing riders on how to remain safe on the ride
- Improperly operating a ride, such as not ensuring that riders are secured, or disregarding alerts or other warning signs of an impending accident or incident
When a park employee is directly responsible for an amusement park accident, the park’s owners and operators can also be held vicariously liable to patrons injured in the accident.
Product Liability Claims
Some amusement park accidents occur because a ride was defectively designed or manufactured, such as a defective design of a restraining harness or defective construction that allows a ride to derail. If design and manufacturing/construction defects lead to an accident, the designer or manufacturer of the ride, or the designer/manufacturer of a defective part used in the ride equipment, may be held accountable to injured patrons through a product liability claim. In a product liability claim, you do not need to prove that a designer or manufacturer was negligent, merely that the product was unreasonably dangerous for its intended uses.
Common Amusement Park Defenses to Accident Claims
However, amusement park operators and ride designers/manufacturers may have legal and factual defenses against amusement park lawsuits. Some of the common defenses raised in accident claims include:
- Assumption of the risk – In an assumption of the risk defense, a defendant argues that the injured party knew that participating in an act was inherently dangerous and yet chose to participate in the act anyway. If an amusement park patron is warned of the risks of a certain ride and then those risks come to pass, a park owner or ride manufacturer may raise an assumption of risk defense. However, in Florida law assumption of the risk is not a complete defense, but can only be used to prove a park patron shares in the blame for their injuries.
- Failure to comply with safety rules – An amusement park owner or ride manufacturer may try to argue that a rider failed to comply with physical requirements for the ride or attempted to disable the ride’s safety mechanisms.
- Contractual disclaimers/waivers – Amusement park admission tickets may have fine print attempting to absolve the park operators of any liability. However, such disclaimers or waivers are rarely enforced in court, and even then usually only in situations where a park patron is explicitly informed of the waiver and expressly consents to it.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Amusement Park Accident Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to an amusement park accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients injured because of amusement park accidents in Coconut Creek, Plantation, Pompano Beach, and Pembroke Pines, and throughout Florida. Call (954) 525-2345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, as well as offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Plantation, and Pompano Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly