Amusement Park Injuries

Florida is an amusement park mecca. We’ve got Disney World, of course, which of course includes the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. There’s Epcot, Universal Orlando, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld, Wet ‘n Wild, Busch Gardens, Legoland, Discovery Cove and more.

These destinations offer fantastic sights, adrenaline-boosting rides and great fun. However, there may be many unexpected dangers lurking as well.

At The Ansara Law Firm, our amusement park injury lawyers know that when a trip to a theme park results in a trip to the emergency room, visitors are often in a state of shock. Jolted out of “vacation mode” and suddenly facing down serious or life-altering injuries, many often agree to whatever terms the parks’ insurance agent may propose in the immediate aftermath. You must understand these agents want to reduce the park’s liability and limit the damages paid to you. Particularly in cases involving serious injury, from a broken bone to a head trauma to a death, consultation with an experienced Fort Lauderdale injury attorney is imperative.

Amusement parks should make the safety of guests the top priority, far too many fail to meet this standard. Some common examples of amusement park injuries in Florida include:

  • Mechanical failure of a ride;
  • Improper operation of a ride;
  • Defects in the rides;
  • Inadequate security at the park (opening the door to third-party attack);
  • Failure to maintain safe walking surfaces;
  • Improper fencing, wildlife barriers;
  • Failure to set or impose proper height and weight restrictions on all rides.

In some cases, we have found that parks were not adequately staffed or the staff the park did have was not properly vetted, trained or supervised. That also opens the door to serious injuries. One poorly-trained worker or a single loose screw could result in a catastrophic injury that could change your life forever.

Amusement Park Injury Statistics

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that every year, some 270 million people visit amusement parks and theme parks in the U.S. Of those, approximately 7,000 are treated at hospital emergency rooms due to some premises liability-related injury. There are an average of 4 to 5 deaths each year involving amusement park rides.

More than half of all amusement park injuries are suffered by children, most between the ages of 10 and 14.

But what we can also say is that these figures are almost certainly vastly underreported. Amusement parks are not regulated by any federal agency and parks in Florida are not required to report injuries or fatalities to the government. Most do so voluntarily, but there is no independent outside agency to verify those figures, and there is no penalty for failing to report an incident.

Amusement park standards are set by ASTM International, F-24 Committee on Amusement Rides and Devices. The committee, comprised of consumer safety advocates, government officials, amusement park administrators, industry suppliers and manufacturers, sets standards for design, testing, operation and inspection of equipment.

In Florida, F.S. 616.242 sets safety standards for amusement rides, which includes equipment testing, inspection schedules and insurance requirements (at least $1 million per occurrence).

Amusement Park Injury Claims

There are a few different types of injury claims that might be asserted in these cases, depending on the underlying facts.

  • Negligent Security. If the theme park did not have enough security – whether in the form of guards or locks or lighting or other protective measures – to shield you or your loved ones from a third-party’s foreseeable assault, you may be entitled to damages based on a claim of negligent security.
  • Premises Liability. If some feature of the park was unreasonably risky, park staffers knew or should have known about certain dangers and failed to remedy those hazards or warn you about them, you may be able to collect damages.
  • Negligence. In cases where an injury at an amusement park may be caused by the carelessness or inattention of the park or employee, a standard claim of negligence could be made. This requires proof the defendant had a responsibility to be reasonably careful, the defendant breached that responsibility and that carelessness caused the plaintiff to suffer injury. Parks are responsible for the actions of their employees, so a person who is injured can sue the park for an employee’s actions.
  • Product Liability. If an amusement park injury is caused by a ride that was defectively designed (as opposed to poorly maintained or improperly inspected) a claim of product liability against the ride manufacturer may be appropriate.

Amusement park injuries can be severe and even catastrophic. To ensure you are adequately compensated for your losses, let an experienced injury attorney help.

Call the injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm at (877) 277-3780 or locally in Broward at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.