Personal Injury Lawyer | Amusement Parks Can Leave Owners Liable
A personal injury lawyer is needed when a day at the amusement park, carnival or county fair turns tragic when negligence or equipment malfunction leads to personal injuries. Sadly, these events are more common than many people believe. According to Nolo.com, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 8,800 injuries on amusement parks rides in 2006; 51 deaths occurred between 1987 and 2000, with 16 of those on roller coasters.
“In recent years, amusement park rides have pushed the limits of speed and technology,” remarks Florida personal injury lawyer Samuel Bearman. “The safety of such rides must always be under the microscope, particularly after reports of injuries. Meanwhile, otherwise safe rides can pose significant dangers when their owners fail to follow maintenance or operational best practices.”
Florida’s own Disney World is no stranger to serious, sometimes fatal accidents. Recently, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride caused two separate visitors to lose fingers, seemingly because they dangled their hands outside of the vehicle. In 2012, a woman badly broke her leg boarding the “Jungle Cruise” attraction and later died of a resulting blood clot. Her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Even something as innocuous as the moat surrounding Cinderella’s Castle was once a deadly hazard. In 1977, a 4-year-old boy fell into the shallow water and drowned. The family won a $1.5 million settlement because safety measures around the moat were discovered to be sorely inadequate.
Personal injury cases are not always so cut and dry. An amusement park operator may be found partially liable for an injury, with the injured party shouldering their fair portion of the blame. That was the result for Paula Noone, who a jury found 60% responsible for the injury she suffered on a Coney Island coaster named the “Cyclone.” Because she had experienced a serious neck injury several years prior, the jury determined a reasonable person might not have boarded a nearly century-old wooden roller coaster known to produce strong G-forced.
In some instances, personal injury at an amusement park does not entitle one to any damages. The case of Carlos Ibanez is a prime example. After ignoring two verbal warnings from employees, he scaled a security fence to retrieve a hat – and suffered a serious head injury when he was struck by the roller coaster. A jury found Six Flags Magic Mountain not liable for the injury, suggesting Ibanez “invited fate.” Ibanez also lost an appeal of the decision.
While malfunctioning rides are the most dramatic cause of personal injury at amusement parks and carnivals, they’re not the only danger. Slips and falls can happen literally anywhere, from concession stands to public restrooms. More concerning, however, is when parks employ inadequate security measures. In 2014, a 15-year-old boy was critically injured after a brawl involving a group of teenagers at Six Flags America. The fighting and mayhem seemed to have been organized via Twitter, according to the Washington Post.