When most people think of theme parks, they conjure up images of quality family fun with exciting rides and entertainment. While we’d love to believe theme parks are all fun, they can actually be a personal injury waiting to happen. In fact, we’ve covered a few cases involving theme park personal injuries already, most notably, the case of Cleanthie Peters at Universal Studios. This particular situation isn’t a rare case of personal injury at a theme park. Every year theme park goers file personal injury lawsuits because of slip and fall cases, negligence by the theme park, or other various reasons.
If you’re headed to a theme park this holiday season, should you be worried about a personal injury? Probably not — the number of injuries in relation to the number of visitors a theme park is actually pretty low. However, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the type of injuries that can happen, what to do in the situation, and what can you learn from cases in the past. For a majority of personal injury cases at theme parks, it can be boiled down to a simple slip and fall accident. Other cases can be a bit more unusual and hard to make sense of. Let’s take a look at strange instances of personal injury at theme parks.
Unusual Theme Park Personal Injury Cases
- Deadly Swim at Seaworld Orlando: A man decided to pursue his dream of swimming with a killer whale in 1999 by staying in the park after closing. He then dove into the tank to splash around and ended up being killed by the orca. His parents then filed a personal injury claim against Sea World citing that there were no warning that a killer whale could actually kill people. They even used the stuffed whales sold at Seaworld as evidence that the whales were depicted as being friendly. The parents lawsuit was not successful.
- Stranded on It’s a Small World: A wheelchair-bound man filed a lawsuit after enduring more than 30 minutes of “It’s a Small World” on loop when the ride broke down. He claimed he was the only passenger not escorted off of the ride and instead was left there. Being abandoned on the ride while the man needed to urinate also increased his blood pressure and almost sent him into a panic attack. The judge ended up ruling against the theme park because they did not take proper care of the man while he was stuck and failed to let disabled passengers know they would be stuck if the ride broke down.
- Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom: In 2007, a thirteen-year-old girl went on the superman tower of power, a ride that lifts and drops its passengers from about 17 stories. While on the ride, a cable broke and wrapped around the girl’s neck and legs. She was able to get free from the cable, but it snapped around her legs as the ride descended and severed her feet. Fortunately, surgeons reattached her feet and the ride was then removed.
As you can probably see, some of these cases can be clearly attributed to the theme park, while others are unclear about who’s at fault. If you believe the theme park is at fault, it’s necessary to take a look at premises liability.
What is premise liability? Essentially, it’s a guideline of rules when a premise is the cause of an injury. It’s also important to consider the type of entrant in the theme park, as with the case of the man being killed in Sea World. An entrant that is admitted, known as an invitee, should be under safe conditions, which is the responsibility of the theme park. However, theme parks in most instances owe no duty to a plaintiff that is trespassing.
What is Considered Theme Park Negligence
Now that we know that invitees admitted into theme parks should be reasonably safe with the proper care of theme park management, here are some of the typical conditions that can be considered negligence by a theme park:
- Poorly maintained rides
- Slippery surfaces
- Dim lit areas
- Irresponsible ride operators
- Ride and safety protocol defects
Contact J. Price McNamara
Personal injuries aren’t always the fault of theme parks; In some instances, judges can find injuries to be a result of attendee negligence. This can include going into areas that are blocked off and labeled to be closed to the public. Navigating your way through personal injury cases like this, as with any personal injury case, can be quite difficult. That’s why it’s crucial you have an experienced, knowledgeable attorney on your side. With decades of experience, the skilled team at the law offices of J. Price McNamara can make all the difference in your case. If you’re in the Baton Rouge, LA area, contact our office today to get started with your free case review!
Following graduation from Loyola Law School in New Orleans in 1990, Price McNamara served as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable John M Shaw, Chief Judge, United States District Court Western District of Louisiana.
Mr. McNamara founded the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara, and began putting his past experience to work for the injured and disabled clients he now represents against the insurance companies in personal injury and long term disability and other insurance disputes in both federal and state courts