As one of the largest tourist and entertainment capitals, Southern California, is home to some of the most heavyweight amusement parks, including Universal Studios, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Disneyland. When vacationers visit these theme parks, their intention is to create fun memories with friends and family.
However, no one expects one of these memories to be an injury. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2016, emergency rooms saw an estimated 30,000 injuries that were connected to amusement parks. With the alarming amount of injuries taking place in amusement parks, it is important for guests to learn their rights if they were or have been involved in a theme park accident.
If you were harmed in a theme park accident and would like to file a premises liability claim, our expert Los Angeles premises liability attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are here to defend you against intimidating corporations who may try to weaken your insurance settlement.
The property owner usually bears a responsibility to his or her customers by providing a reasonably safe and controlled environment. If it is found that an amusement park did not act with reasonable care, then they can be held liable for the injuries they caused.
An example of this would be an injury caused by a piece of rusted equipment, or an amusement park worker forgetting to check a rider’s seat belt. Since the employers are responsible for the actions of their workers, liability would likely fall on the park itself. The park is also responsible for teaching their employees to give customers proper warnings, check height requirements, and inform them about the risks associated with the ride. In addition, most theme parks reinforce their safety policies by adding visible signage.
However, even when accidents do happen, fault can sometimes be hard to find.
Such as the 2019 case where a family of 3 were all injured at the California theme park, Castle Park, following an overturned log. Castle Park released the following statement: “Safety is our number one priority and we have begun conducting a full investigation. At approximately 4:30 pm, an incident occurred on the Log Ride at Castle Park. Three guests were injured. One was transported to the hospital with unspecified injuries. The cause of the incident is under investigation and has not yet been determined. California Department of Safety and Health will conduct a thorough investigation of the cause.”
After an inspection, however, Castle Park announced that there was nothing wrong with the ride itself.
Product liability claims occur when a person is injured or killed by a broken or defective ride. An example of this is a rusted chain snapping or a busted cable causing injury or harm to a rider.
There are also product liability cases, such as when the manufacturer of a machine has a design defect or flaw. In such situations, the victim can sue both the manufacturer and the park itself. As always it is the burden of the victim to prove liability.
When a person voluntarily participates in a dangerous activity, but fully understands the risk, they have assumed the risk of that activity. Depending on the state, different rules may apply.
California offers an “expressed assumption of risk” or a waiver that alleviates the company of liability. Often done with sports and other physical activities, this also applies to theme parks, haunted houses, and other potentially dangerous environments where someone with a weak heart, for example, assumes the risk of riding a rollercoaster. Although there is an assumption of risk when engaging in certain activities, due diligence is still required on behalf of the property owner to provide a reasonably safe space.
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a premises liability accident, our skilled premises liability attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.