‘Tis the time of year for a great family vacation. Many families go the amusement park route because it’s so much fun for children. While they are often crowded, and that means standing in lines for hours, there’s something to be said for these magical places. They’re places of wonder for your kids, and there’s so much excitement on the buildup to a trip to the theme park. Often big theme parks like Universal Studios and Disney even create real-life experiences kids might otherwise not have (Hogwarts Express, anyone?). Even with all of this fun, though, theme parks can be dangerous places.
The Potential for Problems
Perhaps the biggest issue facing theme parks is the high profile accidents they’ve experienced over the years. Just last month two Nigerian children were killed when a ride called the Roller Coffee Cup malfunctioned. Seven other children and the operator were also injured in the accident. Similarly, eight children and two adults were hurt when a rollercoaster derailed at a theme park in Scotland in June. Just a few months before, eight people were rescued by firefighters at the same park when a ride in the park stopped, stranding passengers 20 feet in the air.
Don’t think for a moment that American theme parks, including those in and around the Saint Petersburg area, are somehow safer. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, three people were transported to the hospital after two roller coaster trains ran into each other, hitting two workers in the process. A Pigeon Forge roller coaster accident caused one rider to break her arm in mid-July when she was thrown from car in which she was sitting. A 10-year-old boy died recently from a neck injury suffered in the Kansas theme park, Schlitterbahn.
Amusement parks are private property, and all property owners are legally responsible for keeping their property in a safe condition. If you’re injured because the amusement park didn’t take the preventative steps necessary to keep you safe, you can (and should) get an attorney to fight that you be compensated. Making corporations responsible for the harms that they cause is the only way to force them to care about safety.
In some cases, however, the amusement park may not be entirely negligent. If, for example, a rider wasn’t following the directions of the staff, he may be at least partly responsible for the accident. Think for a moment about the steps most amusement parks take before you get on a roller coaster. You typically hear a recording that says you must remain seated at all times, keep your arms and legs inside the car, etc, etc, etc.
You will probably also read disclosures before you get on the ride about who can ride and who should stay off. Likewise, employees will typically check to make certain all safety protocols (like seatbelts and door latches) are in place. In the event a rider unbuckles after being checked by the staff, then is later injured, that rider may be more at fault than the amusement park.
Don’t take it upon yourself to determine whether your injury might have been prevented or whether someone else is responsible. Instead, turn to a personal injury attorney for help. Even if you were injured in a place like Orlando, turning to an attorney in St. Petersburg is an excellent idea after you return home to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.