Central Florida is well-known for its popular theme parks and water parks. These attractions bring countless tourists to the area every year. With kids out of the school and the summer officially in full swing, it is expected to be another busy season. While a trip to Disney World or Universal Studios can be a fun day for the entire family, injuries can occur when the proper precautions are not taken or if there is a mechanical issue with the ride.
Accidents that occur on roller coasters, water slides, spinning rides and other attractions at local theme parks result in thousands of injuries each year. It helps to know the most common causes of these accidents and steps you can take to help ensure you and your family’s safety while visiting the parks.
How common are theme park injuries?
Central Florida theme parks are required to submit quarterly reports for incidents and injuries that occur on their premises to the state. Between October 1 and December 31, 2018, a total of 13 incidents of injury were reported. Four of these occurred at Disney parks, six were at Universal parks, two occurred at SeaWorld, and one occurred at Busch Gardens. Keep in mind- these were only the ‘reported’ injuries.
Some park goers are not aware of the extent of their injuries when they occur or choose not to file a report. Since 2006, there have been more than 400 reports of injuries and illnesses occurring at Florida theme parks. Some involved motion sickness or chest pain, others involved more serious injuries.
The highest number of reports came from the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure, which opened in 2010. They have since modified the ride and changed the theme of it. Since 2006, there have been 14 reported deaths at Disney theme parks, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture.
What Are the Most Common Theme Park Injuries?
The most common reported theme park injuries include:
- Motion sickness;
- Head, neck or back injuries;
- Lacerations, torn ligaments, and broken bones;
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
- Strokes resulting from trauma to neck ligaments;
- Drowning on water attractions or water slides;
- Brain aneurysms resulting from fast rides; and
- Death from falling or being thrown from a ride.
Many of these injuries are severe, but they are all a possibility if you plan on riding theme park attractions, especially ones that travel at fast speeds, change directions quickly or go upside down.
What are the main causes of theme park injuries?
Theme park injuries can be caused by a number of factors. Many of them are due to some type of mechanical failure with the ride itself, such as a faulty lap bar or a structural component breaking. Rides also must be maintained properly and inspected to ensure that no components are defective or weakened. If the operator who is controlling the ride fails to ensure all safety devices are connected properly or abruptly stops the ride, this could also lead to injuries. Slip and falls are also a common occurrence at theme parks and water parks.
Sometimes injuries occur because the rider failed to follow safety instructions. If the rider rocks a car intentionally, chooses to stand up mid-ride, or holds a child above the safety restraint, an injury is likely to result due to those actions. Warning signs are put in place for riders, warning those who may be pregnant or have a pre-existing health condition of the dangers associated with the ride.
Other times, the inherent nature of the ride is to blame. Theme park attractions are often a go-at-your-own-risk type of adventure, even if the ride is working completely properly. Think of a roller coaster. It is not natural to be traveling at those high speeds, spinning in directions that the body naturally would not be going. Injuries are always a possibility.
Legal Remedies for Your Injuries.
If you are injured on a theme park ride, your remedies depend on what caused the accident or incident that led to you getting hurt. If your injuries were caused from negligence due to the carelessness or inattention of the park or someone working for the park, your legal claim would be based on negligence. To show that the park was negligent, you must show that the law required them to be reasonably careful, that they failed to be careful, and as a result of their carelessness, you were injured. This negligence can be from the park itself or someone they employ. For example, if a park employee at Disney World failed to ensure that your safety harness was secured before getting on Space Mountain, resulting in you getting hurt, you could bring a claim against the park for negligence.
If your injuries were caused by a defect in the ride or some component that was not properly maintained, you may have a claim under product liability against the manufacturer of the ride or defective part. Product liability claims require you to prove that the part, equipment or ride structure was defective and that the defect specifically caused your injury.
Deadlines for Filing a Lawsuit.
If you have been injured at a theme park or amusement park anywhere in the State of Florida it is important that you know the statute of limitations. This is the deadline you have to file a lawsuit and receive compensations for your injuries. In Florida, the statute of limitations is four years. An injured victim must file a lawsuit against the theme park within this time frame or they will lose the right to sue forever.
Our experienced legal team is available to consult with individuals who have suffered injury at any of Florida’s theme parks, including but not limited to:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Disney’s Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
- Disney World
- Islands of Adventure
- Sea World
- Universal Studios
- Volcano Bay
The Benenati Law Firm has successfully represented individuals who have been injured at Central Florida theme parks and water parks across the State of Florida. At the start of 2019, we recovered $175,000 for a client who was involved in a slip and fall at a local theme park. How much we can get for your injuries depends on the type of injury sustained and how the accident occurred.
The Orlando personal injury attorneys at the Benenati Law Firm knows that guest safety should be a theme park’s number one priority. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Oftentimes these parks choose to protect their bottom line, instead of the safety of its’ guests. Our firm’s theme park injury lawyers help clients obtain justice and fair compensation when they are injured at Florida theme parks due to no fault of their own. We know the strategies these large corporations and their lawyers use to try and convince you to settle for less than you deserve. Don’t settle for less, call us first on the 7’s at (407) 777-7777.