Millions of people flock to Florida this time of year to visit Disney and some of the other theme parks. They take their family vacation in Florida specifically because of the adventure parks. The point is to have a good time. But sometimes, things don’t go as planned.
There are dozens of accidents at some of the theme parks in Florida every year. Most of these are minor and we never hear about them. The victim is provided with immediate medical care. Many others don’t even need medical care.
But every once in a while, an accident case catches a lot of public interest. Usually, these cases tend to be strange or extreme. Cases involving children are also pretty popular. You can turn on the news in the summer and you’re likely to see a story about a theme park accident.
When you think about it, the types of rides at these parks can be rather dangerous. This is why you’ll see warning signs posted all over the park. There are also specific warning signs at each individual ride warning you of the following:
- Age or height of riders allowed on the ride
- Warnings about pregnant women and those with a heart condition
- Warnings for people with back conditions
- Prohibiting people from riding if they’ve been drinking alcohol
A lot of the amusements at Florida theme parks involved high speed roller coasters. Other rides tend to jostle their riders around and go pretty fast as well. These types of rides can cause injuries to certain people who ride them. That’s precisely why the theme park managers put up these warning signs.
Even with the warnings, people still get hurt. If you or your child has been injured on a ride at a Florida amusement park, you should call a Navarre personal injury lawyer.
How Many Accidents Really Happen at Theme Parks?
There have been close to 500 personal injury lawsuits filed against Florida theme parks since 2004. Most of these involved accidents that took place at some of the more popular attractions in Florida, including:
- Universal Studios
- Busch Entertainment
The interesting thing is, none of these cases have ever reached a jury. Large companies that own and operate these theme parks want to avoid negative publicity whenever possible. The last thing they want to do is have a lawsuit drag out in court.
About 20% of these personal injury cases involve rides, such as roller coasters. Many others are slip and fall injuries. Some of the rides cited as the biggest culprits at Florida amusement parks include:
- Black Hole Water Slide at Wet n’ Wild
- Rock n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios
- Mission: Space at Epcot Center
Most of these accidents are never reported. Although there have been 500 personal injury suits filed recently, there have probably been thousands of other incidents. The reason they don’t have to be reported is because Florida theme parks are not subject to state inspections. Nor are they subjected to mandatory reporting rules.
This means that, as long as an amusement park can keep the victim happy, they don’t have to report the accident. And, as for the cases filed against these parks, almost all of them settle. When they do settle, for the most part, the amount of the settlement is sealed. So, we have no idea just how much some of these plaintiffs have received.
Some cases, however, are made public. These cases usually involve children or really horrific accidents. Personal injury attorneys in Navarre, Florida are well aware of these cases. They’re the ones who filed them in the first place. This article will take a look at three (3) of the most recent cases filed against Florida theme parks.
Dinosaur Egg Lawsuit Filed Against Universal Studios in Orlando
Back in July of 2013, a little girl was visiting one of the newer attractions at Universal Studios called “Jurassic Park Land.” Inside the park, there was a ride or an attraction called the Dinosaur Egg Scanner. The scanner was an interactive attraction that park guests can check out.
Apparently, a young girl was struck in the chin by the Dinosaur. Her parents claimed that she suffered very serious injuries and sued Universal for damages. The case battled back and forth in Orange County for almost six (6) years before a settlement was reached.
Finally, in February of this year, the settlement was announced. The settlement was for $75,000. It was to be put in trust for the young girl until the year 2027. At that time, this money will be worth about $97,000. The girl’s parents are not entitled to the money.
Universal Studios attorneys argued that they weren’t responsible for the girl’s injuries. They claimed that they simply displayed the Dinosaur. They didn’t build it or manufacture it. They didn’t service it. They claimed that a third party was responsible.
Universal also argued that the girl’s parents were warned of the risks when they entered the park. This is the assumption of risk argument that fails so often. Judges never want to hear that someone accepted the risk, especially when the victim is a child.
Finally, the defendant argued that the child must have misused the device. Despite their arguments, the plaintiff’s Florida personal injury lawyer made a strong case. The park agreed to settle out of court.
Universal Studio Sued by Guatemalan Man Over Warning Signs
Just this past December, a man from Guatemala sued Universal Studios over what he says was an inadequate warning. The man went on a roller coaster with his son. After the ride, he didn’t feel well. He sat down on a bench and collapsed minutes later.
Apparently, this man had a heart condition. The sign outside the ride clearly stated that those with a heart condition shouldn’t ride the amusement. And, while the signs were only posted in English, there were pictures posted as well.
The man suffered a heart attack and died at just 38 years old. His family and their personal injury lawyer in Florida argued the following:
- The park staff delayed in rendering the man aid, causing his death
- The warning signs posted next to the ride were inadequate because they were not in Spanish
- The park has 6.1 million visitors per year from outside the United States
This case is still pending as it’s rather recent. It will be interesting to see if the plaintiff succeeds in their wrongful death case.
ET Go Home and File Suit!
Another ride at Universal Studios was the subject of a recent lawsuit. An 11-year old boy was on the E.T. Adventure Ride when his foot and part of his leg was crushed. Although the boy’s lawyer admitted that the boy didn’t have his feet strapped in the right way, they demanded $15,000 in damages.
These damages were meant to cover the boy’s medical bills. When he got off the ride, his foot fell in between the car and the platform and was crushed. The plaintiff argued that Universal was well aware of many others who had gotten injured on the same ride. Despite this, the park did nothing to prevent or warn people of the risks.
The lawsuit argued that the attraction’s design, manufacture, testing, construction and operation were unreasonably dangerous. Despite the fact that the park was well aware of this, they continued to market the ride to park visitors.
The case was settled for the $15,000.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Navarre, Florida Today
If you or your child are injured at a Florida theme park, you’re going to need a Navarre personal injury lawyer. As you can see, there are many lawsuits filed against these parks every year. And, to date, not one has gone to trial. This is an example that most of these cases settle.
Your attorney will do what he needs to do to get you a fair settlement. Clearly, these family amusement parks don’t want the negative publicity of a lawsuit. It makes more sense for them to settle a case, rather than drag it out in court.
However, you can tell that they don’t just roll over. In the Dinosaur case at Universal, it took almost six (6) years for the case to settle. The defendant didn’t just throw money at the plaintiff to get them to walk away.
If your injuries were legitimately caused by the ride or operator, you may have a legal claim against the park. Your Navarre injury attorney will also name any other potential defendants in the lawsuit.
You should call today and schedule your initial consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Navarre, Florida. You can sit down with an experienced attorney who can answer any questions you may have. They can let you know what your case may be worth.
The consultation is absolutely free and you don’t pay a dime until you settle your case.