It’s some people’s worst fear. You strap yourself in, and hear the clicking of the gears as your ride’s car gets pulled higher and higher up the hill. Then, as you start to slow down, just before you roll over the hill, the anticipation rises. You wait for the ride to speed up, to plummet at top speeds towards the ground at almost a 90-degree angle, but for one long, agonizing pause, you wonder, “What if?”
What if the ride stops right here and I’m waiting 200 feet above the ground for hours? What if my seatbelt comes loose and I’m left only with my arms to cling for dear life as I zoom upside down? What if a tree falls on the tracks and the coaster derails? Or the worst thought of all… What if someone I trust isn’t paying attention to his job, and a serious accident takes place?
Unfortunately, negligence does happen at amusement parks. While sometimes this just means that your kid didn’t get the prize he had bargained for when he tossed some rings over bottles, other times it can lead to much more serious outcomes. But before you can begin to understand whether or not your accident at the park was a result of negligence, you first have to understand what negligence means.
What Is Negligence?
In the court of law, negligence follows its dictionary definition, “failure to take proper care in doing something.” This can mean many things in a personal injury lawsuit. A negligent nurse could fail to take proper care of a debilitated patient, resulting in bedsores or abuse. A negligent storeowner might forget to put up a “Caution: Floor Wet” sign after mopping, causing an unknowing visitor to slip and injure himself. In any case of negligence, it’s assumed that the person responsible was aware of the proper actions that should’ve been taken and also of the possible harm that could take place otherwise.
There are four truths that must be proven in order to have a successful negligent case, and they are as follows:
- That the person or party being sued did have a duty of care to you
- That the person or party failed to provide that duty of care
- That the act of negligence led to your personal injury
- That the personal injury exists and can be documented
There are lawyers that specialize in amusement park accidents that you can contact in the case of a personal injury to find out if negligence was a factor. If it was, you can be compensated in multiple ways, such as for hospital bills, ruined property during accident, mental anguish, and more.
Negligence at Amusement Parks
Some amusement park accidents are not results of negligence, and it’s up to your lawyer and the park to determine if that is so. If you have a pre-existing condition such as one that might cause seizures and the roller coaster triggers a reaction, you might not have a case for negligence. However, if your injury or accident is due to improper maintenance, missing safety gear, or an operator error, that is another story.
Unfortunately, the data for accidents at amusement parks is a heavily guarded secret. Usually when lawsuits are filed, they result in confidential settlements. Because of this, consumers are left in the dark about which parks are safe to visit and which rides are safe for families and children.
There are many factors that might indicate liability in an amusement park accident. Just a few of these are operator behavior, improper operation, loose cables, failure of safety lock, abrupt starts and stops, failure to shut off, lack of maintenance procedures and lack of safety harness.
Consider the Facts
It might be that the best way to avoid injury at an amusement park due to negligence is to not visit them in the first place. Every year, 270,000,000 people visit theme and amusement parks every year. Of the accidents and injuries that occur at them each year, approximately 4,400 are children. For some reason, women 1.5 times more likely to be injured at an amusement or theme park than men, regardless of age and size.
If you or a loved one does experience an accident or injury at a theme or amusement park, the best solution is to contact an amusement park lawyer. Many amusement parks, such as all those in Florida, are exempt from state regulatory law, making it even harder to file a lawsuit in the event of personal injury. Ultimately, the best way that you can protect yourself and your loved ones from harm at amusement parks is to become aware of the problem and help to educate others.