Disney is the “happiest place on earth,” but visitors are still sometimes at risk for serious injury. Obtaining injury compensation from an amusement park – or any large-scale corporation – can seem a daunting challenge. The good news is the civil courts are intended to be a level playing field, where no side has a greater advantage and all are subject to the same laws. While big companies do have deep pockets to hire some of the best defense attorneys, personal injury claimants generally pay nothing upfront in a contingency fee arrangement (wherein attorney’s fees are paid only if and when the claim is successful), meaning plaintiffs too have access to high-quality legal representation.
It has been the experience of our personal injury lawyers in Orlando that sometimes the company will settle a case far in advance of trial if the facts are sufficient to support a case for negligence. However, ensuring plaintiffs are paid an adequate sum for their injuries can be more challenging. It requires extensive proof established through witness statements, medical records and sometimes expert witness testimony.
A number of recent Disney injury cases have been reported in local media outlets, who caught wind either via a public court filing or through the company’s own periodic injury report, which it releases voluntarily to the public (part of its deal with legislators to avoid state inspections).
One recent case involves a tourist from Indiana who filed an Orlando personal injury lawsuit against Disney for a slip-and-fall injury at one of the theme park’s restaurants. According to The Inquisitor, the injury occurred at Columbia Harbor House, a quick-service restaurant in The Magic Kingdom. The incident reportedly occurred in January 2017, but the claim was just filed this month (Florida has a four-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, per F.S. 95.11). Plaintiff went to the restaurant to get some food when she slipped on water and ice on the floor near the entrance. She alleges the water and ice in the entrance was a hazardous condition, that Disney and its employees knew or should have known about it and had a duty to mitigate the danger or warn about it, and failed.
F.S. 768.0755 outlines the burden of proof plaintiffs must meet in Florida slip-and-fall lawsuits.
Plaintiff alleges she suffered serious and permanent injury as a result of her fall, and is seeking damages in excess of $15,000.
Other reported injuries have been reported over the last several months, though it’s unclear if those hurt have filed a claim for damages or if they intend to do so. The Orlando Sentinel reports one incident wherein a 58-year-old man from Georgia died last July in an alleged drowning in a rapids attraction at Acquatica.
In another incident, a 58-year-old woman was injured on a raft at Blizzard Beach, suffering a fractured back. The very next day, a 48-year-old woman was injured while climbing into a car on the Space Mountain ride, suffering a concussion and a leg fracture.
In July, a 45-year-old woman suffered a broken arm while on a water slide at Blizzard Beach.
A 4-year-old boy suffered a broken leg after an incident in the children’s play area in Acquatica.
Although all of these incidents are undoubtedly serious, viable premises liability claims will require evidence showing the park breached its duty of care owed to paying guests and that this breach caused the injury.
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.
State report details injuries at Disney World, other theme parks, Oct. 17, 2018, By Gabrielle Russon, The Orlando Sentinel
More Blog Entries:
Open and Obvious Defense in Florida Premises Liability Injury Lawsuits, Feb. 10, 2018, Orlando Slip and Fall Injury Attorney Blog