Amusement parks are known for providing exhilarating experiences and memorable moments to visitors of all ages. While these parks put safety first and adhere to strict regulations, accidents can still happen. In the unfortunate event of sustaining an injury while on a ride, it is natural to contemplate whether you possess the right to seek compensation and pursue legal action against the amusement park. This blog aims to delve into the intricate realm of amusement park liability, thoroughly examining the key factors that will determine the viability of a potential legal case.
Table of Contents
The Principle of Premise Liability
To comprehend the possible basis for a legal claim, it is essential to explore the concept of premises liability. Amusement parks, exemplified by renowned establishments like Universal Studios and Disney World, operate as commercial properties and bear the responsibility of ensuring a reasonably safe environment for their visitors. This entails diligent maintenance of their rides, regular inspections, and the provision of explicit safety instructions to patrons.
However, it’s essential to recognize that inherent risks come with participating in amusement park activities. The law acknowledges that visitors assume some level of risk when they engage in recreational activities like riding roller coasters, water slides, or other thrill rides.
Assumption of Risk and Waivers
Amusement parks often require visitors to sign waivers before participating in certain rides. These waivers typically state that patrons acknowledge the inherent risks associated with the activity and release the park from liability for injuries that may occur. Courts may enforce these waivers, but their validity can vary depending on local laws and specific circumstances.
While a waiver can limit the park’s liability, it doesn’t give them free rein to be negligent in maintaining their rides or ensuring visitor safety. If the park’s negligence leads to an injury despite a signed waiver, you may still have a case to pursue.
To successfully sue an amusement park for a ride-related injury, you generally need to demonstrate negligence on their part. Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, leading to harm to others. Proving negligence involves establishing four key elements:
- Duty of Care – You must show that the amusement park owed a duty of care to ensure your safety while using the ride.
- Breach of Duty – You need to prove that the park failed to meet the standard of care expected, such as inadequate maintenance, faulty equipment, or insufficient safety measures.
- Causation – You must establish a direct link between the park’s breach of duty and the injury you suffered.
- Damages – You must demonstrate the extent of the harm caused by the amusement park’s negligence, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
Talk to a Los Angeles personal injury attorney to establish whether you have a case.
In some cases, the amusement park may argue that your actions contributed to the accident, reducing or eliminating their liability. This is where the concept of comparative negligence comes into play. Comparative negligence means that if you were partially responsible for the accident, your compensation could be reduced proportionally to your degree of fault. Some states follow a modified comparative negligence system, which bars recovery if you are found to be more than 50% or 51% at fault.