Amusement parks are supposed to be a place where you and your friends or family can have fun and forget about your troubles for the day. However, if you are hurt while on a ride or are injured while playing a carnival game, your day may be spent getting treatment at a local hospital. Fortunately, you may have a legal claim against the amusement park to recover damages for your pain and suffering. Let’s take a look at two of the most common claims after an amusement park injury.
Many Injured Victims May Claim Negligence Caused Their Injuries
Many times, an amusement park lawyer will attempt to prove that negligence on the part of the amusement park caused a visitor’s injuries. Negligence is defined as failure to use reasonable care or failure to take reasonable care when doing something.
From a legal perspective, there are three elements that an amusement park attorney must show to prove that negligence occurred. These elements are duty of care, a breach of that duty and proving that an injured victim suffered damages.
What Is Duty of Care?
Duty of care is the legal doctrine that a person or business has the obligation to take care when undertaking acts that could cause harm. In laymen’s terms, if the owner of an amusement park or a ride operator knew that a harmful condition existed, he or she is obligated to eliminate that condition or mitigate it if possible.
Proving Breach of Duty and Resulting Damages
Breach of duty occurs when an individual is harmed because the amusement park owner or a related party failed to take reasonable steps to keep a person safe. For instance, if a passenger fell out of a rollercoaster car because the safety harness wasn’t put on properly, it could be the fault of the ride operator for failing to notice that in time.
It could also be the fault of the amusement park for failing to have the ride inspected if an inspection would have caught the problem before the rider was hurt. Once a breach of duty occurs, it is then imperative that an amusement park attorney proves that damages occurred. This may mean that the injured party incurred medical bills for treatment or was forced to miss work to recover from his or her injuries.
Injured Amusement Park Riders May Also Pursue Defective Product Claims
A defective product claim is related to a negligence claim because such a claim generally cannot succeed unless negligence occurred. However, it is thought that a defective product lawsuit is easier to win than a case based on negligence because of strict liability laws.
Under the doctrine of strict liability in a defective product lawsuit, it must be shown that a serious defect caused an individual to suffer injuries. It must also be shown that the product was being used properly and that it wasn’t altered in any substantial way when the injury occurred.
What Constitutes a Serious Defect?
A serious defect may result from a design flaw or a mistake made during the manufacture of the item. For instance, a safety latch may have been designed properly but was made from defective materials when it was made. It could also have been damaged during shipment to the amusement park or installed on the ride incorrectly.
What Does it Mean to Use the Product Properly?
As long as you conformed to weight or height limits when you went on a ride, you were using it properly. As long as you weren’t pointing a water gun at your own face when you sprayed yourself, you were using the product as intended, which means that you wouldn’t be liable for your injuries.
What Constitutes Significantly Altered?
If you and a friend chose to share a seat belt while on a ride, it would have been altered to the point where it may not have been effective. In such a scenario, you could be considered liable for your own injuries. Otherwise, this probably wouldn’t come into play too often at an amusement park where rides and other attractions are monitored closely to ensure nothing is modified by users.
If you are hurt at an amusement park, you should contact an amusement park attorney immediately. At the Doan Law Firm, we are here for you whenever you need us whether it’s during normal business hours or at midnight on Christmas. You can contact us by phone at (800) 349-0000 to talk to an amusement park lawyer who can start working on your case right away.