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What You Should Know About Amusement Park Injuries

March 21, 2022

In normal years, American theme parks welcome about 300 million visitors every year. Most of these patrons experience no issues. But the number of amusement park injuries has increased in recent years, especially at water parks. Injuries at these parks are especially common at mixed-use theme parks which have some roller coaster-type rides as well as a few water-slide-type rides. Staff members often aren’t fully equipped to deal with all emergencies in these cases.

Either the ride’s manufacturer or the amusement park owner could be legally responsible for injuries. Both kinds of entities are often out-of-state conglomerates or holding companies which have almost unlimited resources. So, these claims are procedurally complex, and company lawyers fight these matters tooth and nail.

So, only the most experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys should handle these claims. Unless your lawyer has a high degree of skill, not to mention a large amount of tenacity, you may end up settling for less.

Water Slides

Taller and wetter are usually the watchwords in this area. In 2016,a 10-year-old boy was decapitated on the world’s tallest water slide. At the time, the Verruckt water slide in Kansas City was taller than Niagra Falls and the Statue of Liberty. Engineers admitted that safety problems and other issues plagued the ride. “We had many issues on the engineering side,” one remarked. “A lot of our math was based on rollercoasters at first, and that didn’t translate to a water slide like this.” But despite these serious concerns, construction moved forward.

Usually, manufacturers are strictly liable for injuries their defective products cause. There are basically two types of manufacturing defects:

  • Design Defect: Contraptions like the world’s tallest water slide have a lot of moving parts. All these components must not only function individually. They must also mesh well together. Any breakdown in any area could cause a serious injury.
  • Manufacturing Defect: Usually to save money, manufacturers often use cheap materials when they produce their products. These cheap substitutes might improve the company’s profit margin, but they often put users at risk.

The unforeseeable misuse defense is typically the only valid defense to these claims. Victims who misuse products in this way are usually responsible for their own injuries. Unforeseeable misuse is not something like going down a water slide without a raft. Instead, this defense only applies to something like going down a water slide which has no water.

If the product at issue was safely designed and manufactured, victims might still be able to obtain compensation from the amusement park owner.

Falls

Occasionally, a defective product, like a cheap handrail, causes a fall. But property owners, including amusement park owners, are theoretically responsible for the vast majority of these injuries. 

To determine practical responsibility, many states divide victims into confusing and overlapping categories. But in California, all property owners have a duty of care. The exact extent of this duty is based on several factors, such as:

  • Property location,
  • Possibility that people would visit the location.
  • Likeliness and probable severity of injury,
  • Owner’s actual or constructive knowledge of harm,
  • Difficulty of protecting against the harm, and
  • Owner’s control over the property.

All these factors point to a high duty of care for amusement park owners. As mentioned, hundreds of millions of Americans visit amusement parks annually. Any one of them could be seriously injured in a fall. Finally, effective cleaning routines and other simple precautions would prevent most or all of these incidents.

Roller Coasters

These injuries usually combine aspects of water slides and falls. Like water slides, in the push to create taller and faster roller coasters, manufacturers often take dangerous shortcuts. Furthermore, whenever people gather in large numbers, such as a line to ride a roller coaster, there is a potential for a fall or another serious injury.

Compensation in an amusement park injury claim usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Especially in defective product claims, additional punitive damages are normally available as well. Typically, these manufacturers know about safety problems but they do not correct them. Accident victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, contact Sharona Hakim, Esq. at the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.

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Sharona Hakim

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.

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