Miami Amusement Park Injury Attorney
When people take their families out to theme parks for the day in Florida, the last thing they expect is a serious accident. Unfortunately, thousands of these cases happen every year. Whether you believe an employee negligently operated a ride, you suffered a needless injury due to a manufacturer defect, or the park failed to maintain an attraction, speak with a Miami injury lawyer as soon as possible. Amusement parks in America as we have come to know them were developed in the 1890’s. For hundreds of years, people around the world have enjoyed the wonders and excitement of amusement parks.
The National Amusement Park Historical Association (NAPHA) defines an amusement park simply as “an entertainment facility featuring rides, games, food and sometimes shows. The phrase “amusement park rides” includes vehicles, rides, and devices having an entertainment purpose in permanently established amusement, theme, and waterparks or at carnivals, fairs, and other temporary amusement venues. Florida is known for its amusement parks and also its water parks. Just in Orlando, you have the four theme parks that make up Disney World (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios), Sea World, Universal, and Islands of Adventure. These theme parks open their doors to millions of families each year. An amusement park accident occurs when a serious injury or death transpires at an amusement park.
Common Theme Park Accidents and Injuries
- Dangerous areas with no warning signs
- Improper assembly of rides
- Debris left on the floor
- Improper ride operation
- Exposed electrical wiring
- Careless behavior by a ride operator
- Safety Restraints that malfunction
- Rides that mechanically fail
- Defective or missing safety equipment
- Inadequate or untrained staff
- Unsafely designed walkways
- Inadequate lighting at night or in dark walk areas
Causes and Injuries of Amusement Park Accidents
Many injuries at amusement parks happen while riding roller coasters and other high-speed or high-intensity rides. However, any park ride is capable of causing serious or fatal injuries to guests. The most common injuries guests may suffer on theme park rides include:
- Brain and neck injuries
- Neck and spinal cord injury
- Brain aneurysms
What do I do After being Injured at a Theme Park?
If you or someone you love suffers an injury at an amusement park, there are things you can do to help strengthen your case. A skilled lawyer can help to evaluate your case and will let you know what type of compensation could be available for your theme park injuries. Here’s a short list of things you should consider doing after an injury:
- Notify a theme park employee
- Don’t accept any offers for compensation
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Take pictures and videos of the location of your incident
- Request a copy of any incident report made
- Obtain witness information
- Keep receipts to prove you were there
- Document and keep any clothing and shoes you were wearing at the time of the incident
Who Is Liable for Amusement Park Injuries?
Society expects amusement park rides to be safe. Unfortunately, there have been multiple tragedies in recent years. In 2018, the most recent year for which the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) reported data, there were an estimated 1,256 injuries that resulted from amusement park rides. This begs the question, who is responsible for establishing regulations so that these rides are safe for the millions of people who visit amusement parks every year? The answer is that in addition to state common law of premises liability, states are left to adopt their own regulations as they see fit. There is no national legislation that addresses amusement park safety regulation. As a result, states vary greatly as to their safety regulations.
The owner or operator of an amusement park must make rides safe for reasonably foreseeable use. Typically, this will include adequate restraints, frequent maintenance and inspections, safety instructions and employee supervision. Note that this does not mean if a plaintiff is injured on a ride, the defendant is automatically liable in a lawsuit. If the plaintiff did something unforeseeable or disregarded clear instructions, the defendant has not breached its duty of care. For example, if an employee clearly instructs a plaintiff not to extend his arms or legs outside a descending cage, and the plaintiff is injured when he or she disregards those instructions, the defendant will not be found liable for any resulting injuries. Because of the duty to inspect and maintain the rides so as to make them safe, it is unlikely that a defendant will be able to claim that a ride malfunction was a “freak” type of accident. Given the inherently dangerous nature of most amusement park rides should a malfunction occur, the defendant is under a high duty to ensure that conditions potentially leading to a malfunction are identified and fixed.
Additionally, many states have regulations establishing the duty to maintain rides and/or establishing the amusement park defendant’s duty of care regarding rides. In a personal injury action based on negligence, the plaintiff must show: (1) the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care; (2) the defendant breached that duty of care; and (3) as a direct and proximate result of the defendant’s breach, the plaintiff suffered injury and damages. The existence of a duty in a negligence action is a question of law for the court to determine. Amusement park patrons are business invitees. Generally, a shopkeeper is under no duty to protect business invitees from dangers known to the invitee or those so obvious and apparent that the invitee may reasonably be expected to discover them and protect one’s self from them. This rule applies equally to owners and operators of amusement parks. Amusement park ride owners and operators owe their patrons a duty to maintain the park rides and attractions in a reasonably safe condition, to warn of any known dangerous conditions not readily apparent to its patrons, and to conduct reasonable inspections of the premises. However, park owners are generally not required to insure against all injuries to invitees.
Damages That May be Recovered in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you were injured in an amusement park, you may have the right to a monetary recovery. When one files a lawsuit against a theme park owner or operator, there are multiple types of damages you can request. These depend on your specific circumstances, as each type may not be relevant to your case. Additionally, the value of each class of compensation will vary depending on your circumstances and other factors. Here are some of the types of compensation available in premises liability cases:
- Medical Bills and Expenses
- Future Medical Care
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Pain and Suffering
Discuss Your Miami Amusement Park Accident Case with Our Lawyer Today
We represent victims and families in all premises liability claims. We know families have many concerns following an injury. As legal advocates, we make it our job to help you understand your rights, including the right to recover damages. If you sustained injuries on someone else’s property, you shouldn’t have to bear the entire financial weight of those injuries.
Property owners should be held accountable for maintaining their properties in a reasonably safe manner. Assess the strength of your claim by speaking with a Miami premises liability lawyer who is familiar with Florida’s premises liability laws. Our skillful attorneys are genuinely committed to our clients. We will fight to make sure that you get the maximum amount of compensation owed to you. Let us help you get the medical care you need and fight to make sure you are compensated for your injuries! Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation in pursuing your claim and stand ready to protect your rights.
We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Amusement parks are subject to the same general laws that other businesses must comply with. These laws include the duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe manner, the duty to correct dangerous conditions, the duty to warn patrons of known dangerous conditions, and the duty to act reasonably toward their guests. Amusement parks must also comply with local and state building codes and state and federal employment laws.
Yes, in many instances of amusement park negligence, theme park operators or their employees may fail to take the appropriate steps to ensure the safety of their guests. Theme parks may be liable for injury or death to a guest in many negligent situations; a few examples are below:Ride Mechanical Failure. If a lap bar detaches or another mechanical failure occurs, then the theme park could be liable for failing to inspect or maintain the ride. The ride may also suffer from a manufacturing defect or defective product.Failure to Operate a Ride Properly. If an employee does not attach a lap bar correctly or acts negligently while operating a ride, then the operator places guests at risk for injury. Failure to Provide Appropriate Warnings or Instructions. If the theme park does not provide guests with appropriate warnings about a ride or does not provide correct instructions so that guests may avoid injury, then the theme park may be at fault.
Most of the cases our firm handles settle without needing to file a lawsuit. If there is a reason your case needs to go to court, we will explain all the options to you, and you will decide which option is best for you and your family. Your Rubenstein Law attorney will recommend which option we think is best, but the final decision is yours.
The negligent party in a premises liability and/or fall case is the party or company responsible for maintaining the location and grounds where you were injured.