Many of us have great memories of amusement parks from our childhood. Family trips to amusement and water parks are a favorite American summer past time. The rides and attractions provide thrilling experiences that we can share with friends and family. Most of us will never have the chance to live out the adventures amusement rides and attractions offer us like enter a cartoon universe, fly to the moon, drive a race car, explore a haunted mansion, experience zero-gravity or spin around in teacups.
Unfortunately, while we trust amusement park operators to create these experiences for us in a safe environment , sometimes they fail.
This past summer one family tragically lost their 10 year old son who died when he was internally decapitated while going down the worlds tallest water slide. The small boy was placed in a raft with two adults women he did not know. The safety recommendations for the ride recommended that every passenger be at least 4.5 feet tall and that the total weight of all the passengers combined must reach between 400-500 pounds. The park settled the wrongful death suit with the family in early 2017.
According to the trade organization, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, or IAAPA, the U.S. has more than 400 amusement parks. The IAAPA puts out a voluntary safety survey every year, and reports an annual decrease in reported injuries. However as a voluntary survey, fewer and fewer parks are responding each year– only 160 participated in 2015 . Every year Amusement parks report over 1,000 injuries, while not a summer goes by without at least one horrific story about a fatal ride at an amusement or water park. But the true number of injuries is up for debate, the product safety commission estimates that 37,300 people went to the emergency room after getting hurt on amusement and water park rides in 2015 alone. The reason for the debate is that the parks are not federally regulated so the safety of your local amusement park depends on self-regulation and state regulation, depending on the state.
Florida can be considered the United State’s amusement park capital, with around 50 permanent amusement park locations around the state. Florida regularly inspects small carnivals and fairs however the state’s largest amusement parks are all exempt from state inspection. While Florida collects incident reports every quarter for incidents that require 24 hours or more in the hospital or death. Unfortunately these reports are often vague. For example, after one teenager suffered bleeding in her brain and collapsed after a ride, the amusement park only reported that she “felt ill.” Another woman’s death was simply reported as “fatality.” And unless the injury results in death, and makes the news the public rarely ever hears about the about the amusement ride accidents, most injuries that were reported occurred when guest are getting on and off of rides.
Even if an amusement park or water park has a permit or is exempt from inspections they are still responsible for keeping their parks reasonably safe and for removing any known hazards and preventing dangerous situations. They must still regularly maintain rides, train their staff on safety, prevent drownings and near drownings, put up appropriate warning signs and have proper flooring around rides, in bathrooms, or wet areas. So if you or your family have been hurt at an amusement park or water park it still may be possible to prove the amusement or water park’s negligence even if the staff did not violate any formal safety regulations or laws.
Any claim against an amusement park or water park requires the expertise and guidance of an experienced Miami Personal Injury attorney such as those at Friedland Law Group. The South Florida personal injury attorneys at the Friedland Law Group handle all types of negligence, product liability, personal injury, negligent security, slip/trip and fall, and car accident cases throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach. Call the Miami personal injury attorneys today and let our family take care of your family.