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Recovering Compensation for Amusement and Theme Park Accidents

Florida is the tourist capital of the world and a popular destination for college students anticipating spring break or families making plans for the summer. According to VisitFlorida.org, the Sunshine State had approximately 122.4 million visitors in 2021, including domestic and international tourists. Many of these visitors spend their time in amusement and theme parks throughout the state. However, few visitors consider the risks of catastrophic injuries and fatalities until tragedy strikes.

If you are injured, or a loved one has died due to another’s negligent acts while visiting a theme or amusement park, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Amusement and theme parks are required to ensure that their visitors are safe. At The Michael Brady Lynch Firm, our personal injury attorneys know that these venues frequently fail to meet safety standards. They must be held accountable for the life-altering impacts their guests endure. Visitors to the parks trust that the rides and the environment are safe and regularly inspected. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are countless accidents with injuries and fatalities in amusement and theme parks annually.

Common Theme Park Accidents include:

  • Ride malfunctions due to improper maintenance
  • Product defects
  • Slip and falls
  • Drowning
  • Assaults
  • Parking lot accidents
  • Animal attacks

Florida’s major theme parks include Walt Disney World Resort, Sea World, Universal Studios, and Busch Gardens. Some of the lesser-known parks for outings with friends and family are the Miami Seaquarium, Old Town, Adventure Landing, Fun Spot America, and the Florida State Fair.

Criteria to Review when Filing a Claim for an Amusement or Theme Park Accident:

  • Is there an affidavit of compliance conducted by a professional engineer or qualified technician?
  • Were the rides inspected and maintained according to regulations as per the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)?
  • Does the park employ full-time inspectors?
  • Were warning signs posted and instructions provided to the guests?
  • Is there evidence that the park employees received adequate training for their roles?
  • Was alcohol intoxication a factor in the accident?
  • If the victim is a minor, were they adequately supervised?
  • Were there witnesses to the accident?
  • Was the accident the result of negligent security?
  • Did the injuries cause permanent disability or death?
  • Was there a design defect such as malfunctioned safety restraints?
  • Were there unsafe walkways?
  • Did the staff exhibit reckless or careless behavior?

Fatalities in Amusement and Theme Parks

While many theme park accidents are relatively minor, some are horrific and deadly. For example, in November 2021, a six-year-old girl died when ride operators did not secure her seat belt at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. In June 2016, a two-year-old child’s death was caused by an alligator attack at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando, Florida. In Wisconsin, a 12-year-old girl died in the summer of 2010 when a ride operator mistakenly released her with no net in place, causing the minor to fall directly onto the concrete. She survived with numerous injuries, including permanent brain damage.

Statute of Limitations

When a plaintiff files a claim with an entity’s insurance carrier and a proper settlement is not reached, the plaintiff must file a lawsuit in a court of law before the deadline of the Statute of Limitations. In Florida, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within four years of the accident, according to Florida Statute Section 95.11. In the case of wrongful death, the time limit to file is lawsuit is two years from the date of the death.

State and Regulatory Agencies

Being injured or losing a loved one in an unexpected and preventable accident is emotionally and financially overwhelming. Amusement and theme parks must be held liable for their guests’ injuries and harm. Parks must adhere to many safety regulations, including mandatory inspections by government and independent agencies. For example, in the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates theme parks. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) inspects all amusement and theme park rides in Florida, except for those with more than 1,000 employees with full-time inspectors on staff.

The Michael Brady Lynch Firm Can Help You Seek Justice

If you have been injured or lost a family member in an amusement or theme park accident, it is essential to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. The Michael Brady Lynch Firm is a nationwide complex litigation law firm passionate about getting our clients the results they deserve. Let us review your claim, advise you of your legal options, and be your voice in helping you to seek justice.

The Michael Brady Lynch Firm represents clients in civil litigation cases across the nation. Call to schedule a free, confidential appointment to speak with a dedicated advocate for justice at (888) 585-5970.

 

Sources:

“Research FAQ,” Visit Florida, accessed 3/6/2022

https://www.visitflorida.org/resources/research/research-faq/

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Amusement Rides, accessed 3/6/2022.

https://www.cpsc.gov/Research-Statistics/sports-recreation/amusement-rides

The 2021 Florida Statutes, “Limitations of Actions; Adverse Possession,” Chapter 95.11, accessed 3/6/2022

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0095/Sections/0095.11.html

“Fair Rides Inspection,” Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, accessed 3/6/2022. https://www.fdacs.gov/Business-Services/Fairs/Fair-Rides-Inspection

 

 

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