Amusement Park Accidents and Liability
Amusement park rides are thrilling but can also be dangerous. These parks have obligations to warn patrons of hazards and protect the people from any harm that could result from attending the attraction. While this does not differ from any other business or location a person visits, there is, of course, more for a park to watch out for.
What Is Liability?
From standard negligence to product liability to premises liability, proving liability starts with proving negligence. The act of negligence is broken down into four elements:
- A duty of care that is owed
- A breach of that duty of care
- Causation, or showing that the breach of the duty caused the incident
- Damages, or showing that there was physical or monetary damage incurred
Each element must be proven in a case to hold a defendant liable. The defendant must have a duty toward the plaintiff, that duty must have been breached, the breach must be the cause of injury, and there must be damages related to the injury.
Product liability applies to a product causing harm, whereas premises liability refers to a person getting hurt on a property. The determination of liability typically comes from the duty a defendant has to a plaintiff and whether the damages were caused by the defendant.
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When Are Theme Parks Liable?
The typical “lawyer answer” here will always be, “it depends.” However, if you get hurt at a theme park, scheduling a consultation with one of our expert lawyers is a good way to start your case. One of our attorneys can help locate sources of liability that you may not be able to find on your own.
What Type of Injuries Qualify for a Liability Suit?
Any injury can qualify as a liability, including a slip-and-fall, drowning, broken bone, or an accident on a ride or attraction. The primary concern is the circumstances that caused the injury.
If you were running next to a pool and slipped, for example, the liability may not lie with the theme park. However, if you slipped a distance away from the pool on a puddle caused by a leak, then the park owners may be liable.
Amusement park owners must monitor and maintain their attractions for the safety of their patrons. If a ride is not well-kept, serious injury or even death may occur. These accidents aren’t common but still must be reported for your best chances at securing compensation for wrongdoing.
Do Amusement Parks Owe a Duty of Care to Their Patrons?
Theme parks owe a blanket duty to all guests/patrons on the premises. An invitee is a person who enters a premises with permission from the owner in order to give some sort of benefit to the owner, like money.
The duty owed to an invitee is considered the highest duty that exists. This means the theme park is responsible for inspecting the premises and either warning the invitee of dangers or correcting the dangers before the invitee arrives. (This would apply to the previous hypothetical situation involving the leak that caused the puddle.)
A theme park has a duty to maintain any rides and attractions for safety and to warn individuals of any dangers the ride may impose. These warnings are required to be posted in a conspicuous location so everyone can see them and read them before boarding.
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What Can You Recover?
In tort cases, you are allowed to recover damages. A tort essentially means the harm that has been caused to you and can include things like medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
Damages are intended to make you whole for the events that you have endured. The intent is not for a payday but to provide compensation for the harm that was caused by the defendant’s negligence.
If you’ve been injured at a theme park, call Van Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with one of our expert amusement park attorneys. The sooner we get started on your case, the higher your chances of financial recovery.
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