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Florida Amusement Park Injury Raises Liability Questions

A 14-year-old was recently injured in a Florida amusement park accident when she was reportedly thrown from a ride while it was in motion, eventually landing on the metal walkway that surrounded the ride. The Tallahassee Democrat reported the ride moves in a circular loop, but does not leave the ground, operating something like a fast carousel. The high school freshman later said she felt her feet start to slip and she was unable to hold on.injury lawyer

The girl’s mother said her daughter had not been engaging in horseplay or flouting the rules in a manner that would have resulted in her being thrown from the ride. She said she shouted at the ride operator to halt the machine, but the music was too loud to grab his attention. The girl was initially unconscious and was later transported to the hospital with a broken nose and a large gash on her forehead requiring stitches.

The ride was shut down for the rest of the evening and into the following morning, but was later cleared for re-opening, following an inspection by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ ride inspection unit. The unit reportedly ascertained there was no malfunction of the machine. Specifically, it appeared the lap restraints were working properly and the speed was within the limits of the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

It should be noted that the conclusion of the state inspection is not necessarily the last word on this issue. If the girl’s parents decided to pursue an injury lawsuit, it’s likely an independent inspection of the ride would occur. Expert witnesses could be sought to analyze the evidence. Ultimately, it would be in the hands of the court to decide.

The question of whether an amusement park injury may be grounds for a lawsuit – and what kind of lawsuit – will depend on a number of factors. For instance, a situation like this, if it were determined the ride had malfunctioned, would be a claim against the manufacturer of the machine, in what is known as a product liability lawsuit. These cases are founded on the assertion that the ride was unreasonably dangerous or that riders were not adequately warned of a certain hazard.

It could also be a premises liability action, wherein the owner of the property is held responsible for some dangerous condition on site that was not obvious to guests, that was known or should have been known by the property owner and that the property owner failed to address or warn about.

One could additionally allege general negligence if:

  • Ride operators or other staff were not properly trained or supervised;
  • Ride operator was distracted or made some other error;
  • Patrons with certain medical issues or other conditions were not adequately warned of certain dangers;
  • The park allowed patrons who were too small to ride certain rides;
  • The park failed to address dangerous actions by other riders or park patrons.

In addition to injuries on rides, amusement parks and fairgrounds could be liable in cases where patrons suffer injury resulting from slip-and-falls resulting from slick walkways or stairs, drownings caused by dangerous conditions in and around water-related attractions, motor vehicle accidents on park transportation vehicles (trolleys, trams, trains or carts) or even violent acts that occur as a result of inadequate park security.

Florida is renowned for its amusement parks, and these operators have a responsibility to keep patrons safe. Our Orlando amusement park injury lawyers recognize that these cases can pose a number of unique challenges, but pursuing them with an experienced injury attorney is the best way to recover damages for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

14-year-old girl flung from fair ride breaks nose, ride re-opens after inspection, Nov. 5, 2017, By Ryan Dailey, The Tallahassee Democrat

More Blog Entries:

Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit Gets a Second Shot, Nov. 23, 2017, Orlando Amusement Park Injury Lawyer Blog

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