Looking over the quarterly injury reports from the Orlando area parks for the last year, there are about five to 10 injuries each quarter across all the parks, with injuries rising in the last quarter of the year due to holiday travel.
The report defines an injury as any incident that occured on a ride and resulted in immediate hospitalization for more than 24 hours or any deaths.
1.The type of claims to make
There are an array of different types of claims that can be made against an amusement park. However, the most common types of claims are negligence or product liability.
- A negligence claim would cover if an accident occurred because of the carelessness or lack of attention of a park employee.
- A few things need to be proven in order to win in a negligence case:
- That the law required that the defendant be reasonably careful
- That the defendant was indeed not careful
- That this carelessness is what actually caused the injury
A product liability claim would be against an issue with a ride itself. For example, if there was a defective ride or part to the ride like a misdesigned lap bar. These claims are not always due to poor maintenance or use, in which case the lawsuit could go against the manufacturer instead of the amusement park or owners.
- Proceedings can be different for child versus adult injuries
Science Daily released a study that said a child in the US is treated in an emergency room every other hour due to an amusement park injury. From 1990 to 2010, nearly 93,000 children were injured due to a roller coaster, merry-go-round, or coin-operated ride.
The biggest difference in the proceedings is that the law has to deeply analyze and protect the right of the injured child since they are unable to act on their own behalf.
In the case of a theme park accident, the parent of the child will need to act as “Guardian ad Litem” — meaning for the purposes of litigation — and has up to two years in the state of Florida to file for compensation based on the Florida Statutes, Title VIII, 95.11 (3).
- Filing a lawsuit against a theme park can actually be helpful
Amusement parks are established on the grounds of providing safe, family fun. The key word there being safe.
If an injury occurs, and there was something or should be something done in order to avoid it happening again, then a lawsuit can require the park owners to implement a change.
Along with the changes made, the lawsuit can help the injured, and their family, by covering expenses such as medical, lost wages, and even pain and suffering.
- There are two types of plaintiffs
An amusement park goer can only be considered an invitee or a trespasser. Theme parks are required to maintain safety in all areas that paying customers is able to be admitted.
Even if the plaintiff was a paying customer of the park, they can be considered a trespasser if they enter a section of the park that is off limits to non-employees.
By law, the park is not obligated to warn a trespasser of any potential harm. Thus, if a customer enters a restricted area, the park owner is no longer obligated to bring potential dangers to their attention. Any injured incurred as a trespassing park-goer is no longer the liability of the park.
However, whether the plaintiff is aware they are entering a restricted area can become a highly debated topic in the law process.
- Navigating a lawsuit against a park can be detrimental on one’s own
Theme parks have large departments specifically dedicated to legal issues and legal defense. Trying to make your case against them, can result in a bully to victim situation in which it is hard to defend yourself.
It’s important to contact a trusted and experienced law team in order to help navigate the legal system and make sure the park doesn’t settle for less than you deserve.
Since 1966, the team at Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. has represented the Orlando community and Central Florida residents — that’s almost half a century. Combined, the team has more than 100 years of courtroom experience handling personal injury cases.
If you or someone you know needs guidance on their recent amusement park injury, our team of attorneys can be reached at any time.