Claim For Injury Sustained At A Theme Park
If you have suffered an injury at a theme park, you may very well have a personal injury claim to pursue.
A 41 year old Texan in the United States who was visiting a Theme Park, was caught on video sliding off the side of a large waterslide as he rounded a bend in the ride, and falling to the rocky cliffs below, breaking his arm, leg and multiple ribs.
He was indeed lucky to be alive. The video went viral and became internationally newsworthy, because the video encapsulated the very thing we all fear most when entering any ride at an amusement park.
View a video of the waterslide accident. The injured man told reporters it was his own fault as he was really "just too dang old" to be going on rides at theme parks in any event.
Man at US theme park too big for ride and suffers injury
The reason why the man fell from the ride was because he was simply just too big for it. So, does he have a personal injury claim against the theme park for the injuries he sustained? The answer is, most likely, yes.
Unless the man was clearly told by the ride attendants that he was too big for the waterslide and thus could not enter it, but he still did so, then he will likely have a personal injury claim to pursue against the theme park operator. It is likely this would be the case even if there were signs informing him of weight and height restrictions which he could readily read and understand before he entered the ride. In such case it is likely he would still have a claim to pursue against the theme park for not properly supervising entrants to the slide, but he would be looking at a significant reduction in his damages for contributory negligence.
The rides and activities at most theme parks have the potential to cause very serious injury if things go wrong. As such, operators are subject to a very high duty of care to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their rides and their riders. The theme park where the man fell off the waterslide in the US had a duty of care to identify that it was unsafe for the man to enter the ride due to his size, and all reasonable steps should have been taken to warn him of this and stop him from doing so. The park breached that duty of care.
Many people think that because the theme park posts signs stating that one enters a theme park or a "scary" ride at their own risk, they cannot then claim for injuries sustained whilst undertaking the ride or theme park activity. This is not the case.
Theme park operators have a high duty of care to park entrants, as well as contractual duties
Operators of a theme park have a very high duty of care to ensure that the rides and activities they operate are safe, and that reasonable steps are taken to ensure those enjoying their rides and activities are not exposed to an unnecessary risk of injury whilst doing so. They have a high duty of care to ensure that the rides are safe, properly and regularly inspected and maintained, and the machinery is replaced required. Also, as in the case of the man in the US, if there are any restrictions for certain persons participating in a ride or activity, those restrictions need to be properly advised to customers, and those entering the ride properly supervised to ensure they are not in breach of those restrictions.
A theme park is a business, and when you pay your entry fee and walk in the door there exists a contract between the theme park and yourself. This contract includes implied terms that the park will be safe for your enjoyment of the activities and rides advertised and made available to you. A theme park does not normally advertise that its rides are unsafe or are not properly maintained - quite the opposite. So the duty of care that the theme park owes you is not just a general duty at law to take reasonable care for your safety, but it is also a contractual duty.
Psychiatric injuries can also occur as a result of malfunctioning amusement park rides
Injuries sustained from malfunctioning rides or other types of unexpected incidents at theme parks are not just limited to physical injuries. Injuries can also be purely psychiatric in nature. For example, we have handled claims for a couple who were in real fear for their lives when a theme park ride they were enjoying suddenly came to a jolting halt, and parts of the ride started to fall about them. Although they suffered no physical injuries from the event, they feared for their life and limb when the ride malfunctioned and started to fall apart, resulting in psychological injury.
Not so amusing when stuck in the pipe of a waterslide
We have also been engaged in a claim where our client sued for injuries she sustained after getting stuck in a waterslide she was sliding through. It was not that she was too big for the ride as in the recent US case, rather the malfunction was caused by a defect resulting in a sudden drop in water pressure.
There have been quite a number of quite serious injuries and fatalities resulting from poor supervision, risk assessment and maintenance of theme park rides and activities over the years, with the majority occurring in the United States. Despite the tragic events that unfolded at Dreamworld in 2016, there have been a limited number of accidents in Australia. The theme park capital of Australia is of course, the Gold Coast, with the majority of Australia's largest amusement and theme parks situated in this area, and therefore this article is relevant to our Gold Coast and Brisbane clientele, as well as visiting tourists who have sustained injuries at our local theme parks.
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If you have been injured as a result of any vehicle such as car, bike or boat accident, or whilst at work, on holiday, or in many other situations you believe was caused by someone else's wrongful act or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Even if you think your actions may have contributed to your injury, you may still have a claim well-worth pursuing.
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