Disneyland Reopening April 30
The magic is back in the Golden State. But can Disney live up to its promise to keep guests safe?
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that the reopening of Florida’s Disney World proves that amusement parks are safe places to travel in the coronavirus era. “Consumers trust Disney to do the right thing, and we’ve certainly proven that we can [open] responsibly, whether it’s temperature checks, masks, social distancing, [or] improved hygiene around the parks,” he added. As of March 2021, the number of new COVID-19 cases in California had decreased by over 30 percent. Simultaneously, officials are administering over two million vaccines a day in the United States.
All workers and guests must wear facemasks at Disneyland. As for social distancing, the park will open at 25 percent capacity, in accordance with California law.
Amusement Park Hazards
Disneyland and other reopening theme parks are taking ample precautions against COVID-19 infections. But larger hazards remain. Coronavirus is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime hazard. But other hazards remain at amusement parks year after year. These dangers include:
- Falls from a Height: Every year, amusement parks compete for limited tourist dollars by offering rides which are bigger, faster, and taller than the other guys. At Disneyland and other SoCal theme parks, these rides have not been used for over a year. It’s impossible to tell how they will react to sudden extensive use. A fall from as little as four stories high could be fatal.
- Slip-and-Fall Injuries: Even at 15 percent capacity, a lot of people will be going in and out of Disneyland’s restaurants and restrooms. With staff distracted by COVID-19 dangers, wet floors and other hazards might be even more prominent. These falls often involve some complex legal issues, which are outlined below.
Falls often cause catastrophic injuries, such as head injuries, especially if the victim has a pre-existing condition. The eggshell skull rule prevents insurance companies from using a victim’s vulnerabilities, like a pre-existing medical condition, as an excuse to reduce or deny damages.
These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney can also obtain additional punitive damages, in some extreme cases.
Because of the serious injuries involved, these damages are often quite high in fall and other premises liability claims. So, insurance company lawyers often fight these claims tooth and nail, often by drawing on obscure legal loopholes.
The assumption of the risk defense is very common in fall injury claims. This legal doctrine excuses liability if the victim:
- Voluntarily assumes
- A known risk.
Most people voluntarily go to amusement parks. Yes, parents sometimes grudgingly take their children to Disneyland, but that’s close enough to voluntary.
Frequently, however, the risk is not a known risk. For example, warning signs at roller coasters often state that people with certain medical conditions shouldn’t ride, but the signs fail to explain the danger.
Comparative fault is another common defense. Insurance companies often blame victims for falls, if the victims weren’t watching where they were going or disregarded ride safety rules. In California, even if the victim was mostly at fault for an accident, the victim is still entitled to a proportionate share of damages. Have fun and be safe this spring and summer. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim & Sharona Hakim. You have a limited amount of time to act.
Photo by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash
Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq. is a successful personal injury attorney and the principal of the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim firm in Beverly Hills, California.