Florida theme park injuries occur just as they do anywhere else in the world. When a theme park, such as Walt Disney world, through their negligence or recklessness, cause injury, the theme park can be held financially liable for the resultant injuries. Florida theme parks include Disney World, Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove, Legoland, Sea World, The Holyland Experience, Universal Orlando, as well as accidents occurring close to Florida such as Atlantis.
When injured at a theme park it is necessary to retain an attorney early to conduct an investigation and to preserve the scene so that no evidence is lost. Your lawyer can contact witnesses, obtain video tapes, maintenance and other records concerning theme park rides, and can request all relevant discoverable evidence from the theme park.
Florida theme parks are required to report the injuries of their patrons to Florida's Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection. The theme parks need to report the injuries when they result in death or an overnight stay at the hospital.
According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), 300 million people visit amusement parks each year. According to this organization, the chance of an injury occurring in a park is 1 in 9 million.
Theme parks can be held liable whether it is their negligence which causes injury. To prove a case against a theme park it needs to be shown that the theme park breached its duty to the injured patron by creating or failing to prevent a dangerous condition which caused injury. Compensable injuries occurring at theme parks include slips and falls, injuries on rides and attractions, or even food causing injury.
Other less common injuries which could be compensable would include a situation where the theme park had a roller coaster and failed to have warning signs concerning the velocity and movement of the roller coaster. Thereafter one with a heart condition suffers a heart attack which could have been preventable had there been proper warning signs.
Further, intentional torts occurring at amusement parks could also be compensable. An intentional tort is where the tortfeasor, or aggressor, intends to cause injury to another. This would occur if there was a lack of proper security at the theme park and a patron is injured in a fight with another park-goer.
Also, theme park employees are not exempt from their intentional acts. If a theme park employee were to attack another patron causing injury, the employee could be sued, but the theme park could also be sued under a theory of respondeat superior – where the theme park is liable for the actions of its employee through its negligent hiring, training and supervision of the employee. Negligent hiring would be a situation where the amusement park failed to do a sufficient background check on the employee and failed to learn that the employee had a criminal or other violent history. Further, failure to adequately train employees could result in liability to the theme park. Finally, failure to have sufficient rules and regulations for employees, and failure to monitor and supervise the employees’ actions could also result in liability.
Additionally, there are often moving vehicles, such as golf carts, in theme parks riding in between the patrons. Were a patron to be hit and injured by one of these vehicles, the driver and the theme park could be held liable for the resultant injuries.