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West Palm Beach Amusement Park Accident Lawyer | Florida Amusement Park Injury Attorney

Young people riding a roller coaster Children, teens, and adults are excited to go to amusement parks. Residents from Palm Beach County and throughout the State of Florida enjoy roller coasters. Water slides are refreshing on a hot Florida day. Go-Karts raise your spirits as you challenge your family and friends to a contest of speed and skill. The haunted house is always a go to attraction where guests shriek, scream and laugh, especially during Halloween Horror nights. An amusement park brings fun and laughter to most, but there are some whose fun experiences are marred by misfortune.  In Florida, more than 20 million people visit amusement parks throughout the year and there are thousands of guests who are injured, some resulting in death.   

If you or a family member are injured at an amusement park, you may have a negligence or product liability claim against the amusement park, the manufactures of the ride, and possibly others.

An amusement park accident attorney may bring a legal action on your behalf for any injuries suffered while at a park, carnival or fair. A qualified personal injury attorney will review the facts, investigate the cause of the accident, hire any experts necessary to ensure that you receive financial compensation for your injuries.

If you are injured and need assistance contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley. We represent individuals injured at amusement parks throughout the state of Florida. Call now! (561) 746-7076

Statistics on Amusement Park Injuries Are Flawed

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) provides injury statistics on participating amusement facilities. The problem is all amusement parks do not voluntarily participate so statistics given do not paint the complete picture of the amount of actual injuries that occur. In the years 2020 and 2021, injury statistics are much lower than prior years due to parks being closed because of Covid-19.

According to Florida law, there are numerous safety guidelines that need to be adhered to, as well as, routine inspections that are conducted at amusement parks, carnivals, festivals, theme parks, trampoline parks, and fairs but injuries still occur. Those injured range in age from elementary school children to senior citizens. Many of those injured suffer traumatic injuries and sometimes death. However, statistics from IAAPA state that your chance of being seriously injured at a permanent site (on a ride) in the U.S. is one (1) in 15.5 million. Florida distinguishes amusement parks into two categories: temporary and permanent amusement rides.

Facts About Amusement Park Accidents

There are two types of amusement parks and they are regulated differently:

  1. Non permanent rides/attractions that move from site to site such as carnivals and fairs are inspected by the the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS). CS/HB 1275 passed the House on February 26, 2020, and subsequently passed the Senate on March 13, 2020.
  2. Permanent rides/attractions are those that do not generally change their location. Permanent rides are inspected semi-annually. Disney Parks and other theme parks that are permanent, and have more than 1000 employees, are regulated by local and state and there is no federal regulation.
Types of Amusement Park Injuries in Florida

Injuries to guests vary from minor to severe. Below are the types of injuries that can occur at amusement parks. 

  • Torn ligaments 
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Lacerations
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Traumatic brain/cranial injuries
  • Drowning
  • Stroke
  • Paralysis
  • Death
Top 5 Causes Of Amusement Park Injuries

With safeguards in place to keep rides safe, it is rare that an injury occurs, but it does happen. With any machinery there is always the possibility of errors that can occur.

  1. Operator Error on Rides and Attractions
    • Failure to adhere to established protocols and procedures
    • Distracted by phone or other persons
    • Under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
    • Carelessness, fails to secure a safety bar, seat, or harness
    • Theme Parks like Disney and Universal Studios have established hiring protocols to minimize operator error. (Comcast owns Universal Studios)
  2. Mechanical Failure On Rides And Attractions

    Mechanical failures at Amusement Parks can happen at any time. Most amusement park rides operate the majority of the day, every day, and eventually can fail if not properly maintained. Here are some common types of failure and defects:

    • Structural defect
    • Improper inspection
    • Detached car causing an unexpected impact
    • Product or design flaw
    • Improper maintenance
    • Failed restraint 
    • Electrical failure
    • Snapped cables
    • Broken safety bar or seat belt
  3. Passenger’s Failure To Follow Instructions At Amusement Parks
    • Ignoring safety signage 
    • Carrying items on ride like cell phone and cameras
    • Standing up during ride
    • Lifting children out of their seat
    • Touching parts of ride 
    • Intentional rocking while on a ride or attraction
    • Ignoring height and weight limits or exaggerating the same
    • Making TikTok videos distracts guests thereby increasing their chances of being injured
  4. Slips And Falls Accidents At Amusement Parks
    • Falling getting on and off ride
    • Tripping on platform
    • Falling on stairwell or ramps
    • Tripping over exposed electrical wire
  5. Theme Parks in Palm Beach County
    • Rapids Water Park
    • Lion Country safari
    • Uncle Bernie's Amusement Park
    • Urban Air Adventure (trampoline park)
    • Shark Park 561
    • Boomers Boca Raton
    • Escape Rooms
List of Fairs and Carnivals in Palm Beach County
  • 60th Delray Affair
  • Annual Boca Raton Museum of Art Festival In Mizner Park
  • Sunfest 2022
  • Annual South Florida Garlic Fest
  • Wellington Bacon and Bourbon
  • Annual Palm Beach Marine Flea Market and Seafood Festival
  • Palm Beach International Boat Show
  • Florida Outdoor Expo
  • Home Design & Remodeling Show
  • Palm Beach Food & Wine Fest
  • Jupiter Seafood Festival
  • South Florida Fair
Does The State or Federal Government Regulate Amusement Park Rides in Florida?

Mobile parks, like carnivals and fairs are governed by state statute and overseen or regulated by The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Permanent parks like Disney and Universal are not regulated by the federal authorities.

Two Most Common Filed Legal Claims in Amusement Park Injury Lawsuits
  1. Amusement park negligence claims in florida

    In all negligence cases, there must be a duty of care owed. In theme parks, carnivals, festivals, there is a duty to provide a safe environment to all visitors. When the owner, usually a corporation, breaches that duty to keep visitors safe from harm and the guest is injured, the amusement may be liable for damages in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

    Negligence is when an amusement park owner directly or indirectly fails to act in a reasonable manner. That failure results in injury to another.

    In order to be successful in an amusement park claim for negligence, it must be established that:

    • The park knew or should have known about an unsafe danger, they had a duty
    • That the park failed to correct the danger, they breached the duty
    • That this unsafe danger caused injuries to the patron 
    • But for the unsafe danger, the patron would not be injured
  2. Product liability amusement park injuries in Florida
    • Design defects occur when a designed item fails to be safe for its intended use
    • Manufacturing defects have nothing to do with the design of the item, in fact, the design is deemed safe, but the manufacturing process failed in some aspects.

If you were the victim of an accident based on a manufacturing or design flaw, you may be eligible to file a product liability claim. If there is an inherent design flaw then your claim is against the manufacturer for producing a flawed design. In order to be successful in a claim or lawsuit, it must be established that a certain part(s) or piece of equipment on the ride was defective and was the cause of the injuries suffered.

As a guest at an amusement park it is expected that the rides and attractions are safe. When a visitor is injured due to a flawed or defective part or product, it is known as a products liability case. Product liability cases are under the general umbrella of personal injury law. If successful, the victim will be financially compensated for their damages.

Defenses to Amusement Park Injury Cases

When legal action is brought against an amusement park, they will do their best to minimize paying out for the damages incurred by the plaintiff. Here are some common defenses:

  • Non-Compliant Rider (Failed to Follow Rules)
    • Ignored height and weight requirements that were posted
    • Ignored instructions to keep hand and feet in proper position
    • Carried on items that were cause of injury

This may lead to comparative negligence offset wherein the value of the injury is diminished by the percentage of fault assigned to the rider/victim.

  • Ticket, Brochure, and Receipt Disclaimers at Amusement Parks
    • Parks often place in fine writing a waiver of liability indicating that the purchaser waives any potential negligence claims.  
    • This defense can be challenged as it is rare that anyone reads the fine print unless they are requested to sign and/or instructed that a waiver is being placed on receipt or ticket. Limited space can make alleged waiver vague.
    • Contracts are a meeting of the minds and should be agreed upon not hidden on a ticket stub.
  • Assumption of Risk
    • Guest was aware of the inherent danger of the ride
    • Knowing of the inherent danger and waiving it should not result in financial compensation
Ways to Establish an Amusement Park Injury Claim

If injured at an amusement park, fair, or carnival it is important that you document as much as possible. Proving negligence is difficult so it's important that you collect as much evidence as possible.

  • Report the Injury to staff and ask for names and contact information
    • Call 911, it is a recorded line
    • Large parks like Universal and Disney have onsite staff to help, do not refuse their assistance
  • Witness Information is important. Ask for names and phone numbers, even emails of strangers nearby do not rely only on friends and family members as witnesses
    • Your lawyer and or staff will later interview these witnesses to establish your claim
    • In today's world many people record incidents on their phone and your attorney may be able to use this video evidence in your case
  • Video, Audio, Photograph Collection is important in establishing a claim. Recording in public is not a crime in Florida so record as much as possible.
  • Treatment of Injuries is the most important aspect of any personal injury claim. An injured party's failure to seek medical attention and follow up with ALL treatment recommendations results in diminished or denied compensation. Go to every doctor’s appointment.
  • List of doctors and receipts for medications should be kept. This allows your personal injury lawyer to track medical records and all out of pocket expenses.

“If you have been injured in Palm Beach County or anywhere in the state of Florida, Call Me!” Roger P. Foley at (561) 746-7076

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