As summer approaches, you may dream of sunny skies and warm weather. Your thoughts might drift to taking time off work and enjoying the heat of summer. Perhaps you’re already planning your next vacation.
Like many others this summer, you may flock to one of the many amusement parks across the nation for entertainment and quality time with friends and family. You probably aren’t thinking about what could go wrong while you enjoy the many attractions. But if you or a loved one is injured or unintentionally harmed at the amusement park, what are your options?
To learn more about how to qualify for a personal injury claim and what to expect, read on.
The Amusement Park’s Responsibility
Every park has a responsibility to protect their visitors. This responsibility is called the “duty of care.” As part of this duty, the park needs to provide clear regulations and detailed forewarnings to keep guests informed. Some of the amusement park’s other responsibilities include:
- Adequately training ride operators
- Properly maintaining and inspecting rides
- Providing correct instructions for riding specific attractions
If the amusement park doesn’t meet these expectations and a visitor is harmed, the park could be held liable on grounds of negligence. The park is also responsible for the actions of their employees. If an employee is negligent or does anything that results in injuries or harm to an individual, that individual can pursue compensation from the park.
The park is also expected to keep their walkways and other areas clear and free of hidden risks. They should place railing on stairs or ramps and warn patrons of slippery areas.
While the park is expected to maintain a safe environment, not all accidents and injuries are considered the park’s fault.
You also have some responsibility in maintaining your own safety in the park, and it isn’t uncommon for the park to review your actions and ensure your injury wasn’t the result of your own negligence.
If you’re a legal invitee on the park’s property, meaning you’ve properly paid for your ticket and aren’t trespassing, you’re expected to do the following:
- Take notice and acknowledge any warnings.
- Follow park rules.
- Stick to public paths and avoid going into off-limit areas.
Essentially, as an entrant, don’t participate in any kind of rebellious behavior, as it could cost you a favorable result in a personal injury claim. If you illegally enter the property or enter an area that’s clearly marked as forbidden, you’re considered a trespasser and the defendant is not expected to protect you from or warn you of any unintentional harm.
If you are a legal invitee and enter an off-limit area that you don’t know is forbidden, you may still maintain your status as an invitee and the defendant is still responsible for your safety in that area. However, keep in mind that it can be difficult to prove whether or not you knew the area was off-limits.
Rides and the Assumption of Risk
Most likely, you’re going to an amusement park for the rides. While it’s clear that the park has a duty to warn you of hazards and prevent dangers wherever possible, the park (as the defendant) may use the idea of “assumption of risk” to place the blame on you (the plaintiff).
An assumption of risk is when a person does or participates in something he or she knows can be dangerous or risky. For instance, when getting on a roller coaster, you know you might get dizzy or nauseous, even if the park hasn’t posted any warnings.
While you might be mindful of numerous risks a rollercoaster presents, the assumption of risk doesn’t cover everything. You may be vaguely aware that rollercoasters can break down and have issues, but that problem doesn’t exactly fall under the assumption of risk.
As a patron of the park, you expect all the rides and attractions to be maintained and in optimum condition. So, if you get on a ride that has a loose or defective part, you aren’t fully aware of the risks involved and the park is responsible for any resulting injuries.
Discussing Your Case With a Lawyer
Visiting an amusement park can be a lot of fun, but the experience can quickly turn sour if you’ve been injured through no fault of your own. While you should educate yourself on the amusement park’s responsibilities and whether you qualify for a personal injury claim, it’s best to seek the help of an experienced attorney.
If you’ve been injured during a trip to an amusement park, schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer. They can discuss the details of your case with you and determine how much compensation you deserve. Should the defendant fight the claim, your attorney can also help you navigate the legal waters and convince the park to reimburse you for your injuries.