Amusement parks and theme parks are arguably the backbones of fun and entertainment in the United States. They offer mesmerizing sights and adrenaline-boosting rides which allow people of all ages to not only take a break from their normal lives but have an exhilarating experience.
However, this is not always the case and what was intended to be a great day can quickly turn into a nightmare.
While most parks are safe and follow the regulations, some areas may be neglected and poorly maintained, leading to defective rides and unsafe areas for visitors that cause accidents. Injuries resulting from accidents at the park can range from minor to major, with some being so catastrophic to permanently affect the lives of the victims.
Thankfully, there are premises liability and personal injury laws in place designed to compensate those who have been injured or incurred losses due to an accident at the park. However, proving liability is not always easy especially because the amusement park owners will want to avoid negative publicity.
You need concrete evidence and a strategy that makes it clear that the other party was at fault.
To ease the complexities that come with making an injury claim, it is advisable to seek the help of a reputable amusement park injury lawyer. They will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident to come up with concrete evidence supporting your claim.
They will act as your advocate from start to finish and act to protect both your rights and interests. Injury law in Hollywood might be complicated, but our seasoned lawyers will be able to seek the compensation you deserve.
We are a contingency fee firm of personal injury attorneys based in Hollywood, dedicated to helping our clients recover damages for accidents that other parties caused. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call us today at 954-915-7405!
What You Should Know About Amusement Parks and Amusement Park Accidents
Before you file an injury claim following an accident at an amusement park, there are several important things to know regarding where you were and what occurred. ‘Amusement Park’ is a loose term that applies to an array of things. But what does it means and what regulations are in place compared to theme parks, carnivals, festivals, and other similar location? Let us find out.
What is an Amusement Park?
An amusement park refers to a location with various types of attractions including rides, events, and games. One defining feature of amusement parks is that they are constructed for long-term operation. This means the park doesn’t change location and the rides are fixed in place.
This fact is what separates amusement parks from their counterparts. Other destinations with rides including carnivals, fairs, and festivals tend to have temporary and portable rides.
Amusement Park Accident Statistics
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 270 million visit theme parks and amusement parks in the United States. Out of those, around 7,000 sustain premises liability-related injuries, some so severe that they lead to an average of 5 deaths per year. The agency also reports that over half of all the injuries in amusement parks are suffered by children, mostly between ages 10 and 14.
What’s worse is that these figures are almost always underreported. That’s because there is no federal agency regulating this industry and in states like Florida, parks are not mandated by the law to report any injuries or fatalities.
Amusement park standards are set by the F-24 committee in the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM). The committee is made up of amusement park administrators, government officials, consumer safety advocates, industry manufacturers, and suppliers.
They meet twice per year to set or revise standards for equipment design, testing, operation as well as inspection and maintenance.
In the state of Florida, F.S 616.242 stipulates the amusement rides safety standards which include testing, inspection routines, and insurance requirements.
What are the Common Causes of Amusement Park Injuries?
Amusement parks are expected to have stable and optimally functioning equipment, machinery and structures in order to keep their customers safe. However, things can sometimes go wrong due to an array of factors. Some of the most common amusement park accidents in Hollywood include:
- Failure to maintain strong and stable structures- This is generally caused by rust or poor maintenance of structures.
- Poor design- Despite safety measures, some rides in the park may be inherently unsafe due to their core design.
- Staff oversight- In some situations, the ride operators and other staff members may have ignored certain safety measures or procedures, which led to an accident.
- Mechanical or electrical problems- an amusement ride can also fail due to electrical or mechanical issues, therefore causing an accident.
- Ejections and collisions- some rides may collide with other structures or cause the riders the fall off. While rare, the resulting accidents can be catastrophic.
- Passenger negligence- Another common cause of accidents in parks is passengers failing to follow safety instructions, leading to accidents that injure or kill themselves or other parties. Examples of passenger negligence include sitting improperly, unlatching safety restraints, rocking a car intentionally, and standing up mid-ride.
In some situations, the team at Klotzman Law Firm has found some parks to have not been sufficiently staffed. In other cases, the employees may have not been properly vetted or trained. It only takes one poorly trained employee to pave the way to a catastrophic accident.
What are the Common Injuries in Amusement Parks?
Given the speed at which most rides operate, an accident can result in an array of accidents, ranging from minor to major and even death. Some of the common injuries sustained in Hollywood amusement parks include:
Traumatic brain injuries (TMIs)- These stem from stresses like the G-forces experienced by the brain during high speeds. TMIs can also occur when one is hit on the head by a detached or falling object.
- Broken bones, lacerations, and torn ligaments from varying causes.
- Brain aneurysms- A brain artery may bulge as a result of the pressure caused by roller coasters and other fast rides. If it bursts, it can cause a condition known as subarachnoid hemorrhage.
- Stroke, resulting from trauma to the ligaments located on the neck region.
- Head and back injuries resulting from being whipped around on roller coasters and spinning rides or impact of bumper car rides.
- Drowning from water rides such as water slides and lazy river rides.
- Whiplash- This is an injury that’s caused by the sudden deceleration of a ride, forcing the head and neck to go back and forth in an instant. Whiplash is common in rides that spin, make quick turns, or speed up and stop suddenly. The injury is accompanied by symptoms that can range from minor to severe including neck stiffness, dizziness, headache, jaw pain, shoulder pain, ear pain, nausea, back pain, and eye problems. In severe cases, whiplash can affect your normal life and requires treatment using physical therapy, massage therapy, and prescription medication.
If you or a loved one has sustained any of these injuries from an amusement park accident, you should seek immediate medical attention and hire a lawyer in order to protect your interests when it comes to making a claim.
Who Can be Held Liable for Amusement Park Injuries?
Injuries sustained from amusement park accidents fall under Premises Liability. This is a field of law that determines liability when a certain location is responsible for an injury. This is usually the first step in determining if you have a valid case and who is to blame for the injury. When it comes to determining liability in amusement park accidents, the following categories come into play:
Nowadays, amusement park rides are very complex, featuring numerous interdependent components of all sizes. If restraints for example were poorly designed or maintained, people are put at risk of being jostled violently or even falling off the ride.
Malfunctioning generators and electrical components can bring rides to a sudden stop, causing head injuries and whiplash. These are just a few examples.
If the ride’s design and construction are to blame for the accident, then the manufacturer can be sued for damages. However, you need concrete evidence showing that their poor construction practices were the cause of the accident.
If poor maintenance was the cause, the parent company or park owner is usually the party to be held responsible.
When ride operators overlook safety procedures or cut corners, it is referred to as operator negligence. If their actions or lack thereof lead to severe injuries or death, the operators and the park they work for can be sued on a premises liability basis. Similar to mechanical failure, however, the victims need to prove the employee or park owner was legally expected to practice care but failed in that duty.
What Should You Do After an Accident in an Amusement Park?
Proving negligence for your injuries and losses can be a challenging endeavor, especially if you are trying to hold the amusement park owner or equipment manufacturer liable. To make a successful claim, you should first report the accident as soon as possible.
Going on with your day after experiencing whiplash will only leave you exposed to more potentially dangerous effects and even weaken your case. Never assume that the pain will stop or your wounds will heal, even if it was a minor accident.
As soon as you get injured, do the following:
- Report the incident to the ride operator or park manager once the ride stops. Ensure you take photos or videos of your injuries and the defective or damaged parts of the ride.
- If there were people who saw the accident, collect their names and contact details. Ensure you record their statements through audio or video as this will be extremely helpful in backing your claim.
- Seek medical attention. If it is a major injury, ask someone to call 911 for fast medical assistance.
- Once you are treated, ensure you collect medical reports, medical bills, records of lost wages, etc. These will help in determining how much compensation you should seek.
- When you are ready to make a premises liability or personal injury claim, consult a lawyer.
Keep in mind that when working against the manufacturer or park owner, they will most likely try to make a settlement as soon as possible. These settlements are usually meager and not enough to cover the expenses incurred as a result of your injury. So, if the insurance company or their lawyers contact you, direct them to your attorney immediately.
Are You Entitled to Damages?
If you wish to seek compensation following an injury from an amusement park accident, you are required to first establish negligence. You can achieve this y tracking records of tracking as every amusement park in Florida is expected to carry out inspections every year.
For rides with known damages, they should first be inspected prior to use. These rules apply to all amusement park rides including Go-kart tracks, roller coasters, mechanical bulls, haunted houses, bounce houses, ski lifts, train rides, and carousels.
If the park is found guilty of running without the appropriate permits and inspections, they are not only subjected to negligence charges but also criminal misdemeanor charges. If successful, you will be able to recover economic damages and non-economic damages.
The former covers the monetary losses experienced as a result of injury. These include medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, and property damage. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, cover aspects like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, emotional distress, stress, anxiety, loss of companionship, etc.
Keep in mind that deciphering the law can be challenging, especially in the state of Florida which has specific regulations and doctrines in regard to negligence. That’s why you’ll want to ensure you work with an experienced premises liability lawyer based in the state.
To win, you’ll have to plan and strategize carefully, as other parties will most likely attempt to retaliate, leaving you to suffer for something that wasn’t your doing.
How Much Can I Recover in Damages?
The amount of money you get from an amusement park injury claim can vary greatly, ranging from thousands to millions of dollars. That’s because there is a wide array of factors that come into play including the type of accident, its scope, and even the extent of your injuries.
When you reach out to Klotzman Law Firm, we will assess your case, come up with a figure that we all deem worth it, and work towards having you compensated.
Are There Limits for Filing an Amusement Park Injury Claim?
Yes, Florida has a statute of limitations, which is the deadline a victim has to file a lawsuit. According to the law, people have a deadline of 4 years from the date of the accident to file for a premises liability or personal injury claim.
There might be a few exceptions depending on the case, but this is generally the time period. If you do not file your claim within this window, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case.
As such, it is important to involve a lawyer from the onset. They will not only tell you about the time limits but also work on the case early enough to tip the odds in your favor.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Amusement Park Injury Lawyer?
When you are injured and unable to meet your financial goals, you might be hesitant to seek legal representation due to the legal fees involved. The fact that you may also be going against big companies does not help put you at ease regarding the legal costs.
However, you do not have to fret. That’s because the team at Klotzman Law Firm operates on a contingency fee basis. This allows you to get professional legal representation without paying anything unless you win the case.
The amount to pay will be based on an agreed-upon percentage when our lawyer decides to take the case. While some attorneys operate on a flat or hourly rate, that is generally not the case in Hollywood.
Hire the Best Amusement Park Injury Lawyer in Hollywood!
Injuries stemming from amusement park accidents are generally rare, but when they do occur, they tend to be catastrophic or even fatal. Amusement parks are meant to be destinations where you and your loved ones can hang out, bond and enjoy, and not a source of nightmare memories.
If you or a family member has been injured while having fun at an amusement park, you should not be left to deal with the aftermath alone. The law has measures in place to hold the responsible party accountable.
This can be the park owner, the parent company of the park, the operator, or the ride manufacturer. These cases, however, can be complex and time-consuming, and without experience, it is easy to get overwhelmed.
We know how a severe injury can affect your life and that’s why we have the best team to help you seek justice. Our Hollywood amusement park injury lawyers have the skills and resources needed to bring those responsible to justice and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Call Klotzman Law Firm at 954-915-7405 to get started!