Man Loses Fingertips on Amusement Park Ride
During the summer, families flock to amusement parks like Six Flags Over Georgia with the expectation of experiencing fun, thrills and recreation. While most of these excursions occur without incident, amusement park accidents can cause injury or death because of defective rides, poorly maintained premises, improperly trained or supervised employees and other forms of negligence. A recent accident at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida provides a reminder of the potential risk of injury associated with amusement park ride accidents.
While people do not expect to suffer injury on a ride that has been around for decades without significant incident, a lack of past accidents does not necessarily mean that they will not occur in the future. According to the Orlando Sentinel, a tourist from the United Kingdom was hospitalized after an accident on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom earlier this month. The amusement park guest had the tips of his pinky and ring finger severed according to an Orlando Sentinel report. A spokesman for the theme park indicated that the man injured in the ride accident had his hands outside the boat. However, the preliminary media report did not indicate what part of ride made contact with the tourist’s fingers.
A theme park can be legally responsible for injuries caused to visitors on the premises if it fails to provide adequate warnings regarding hazards or to eliminate such hazards. However, the amusement park has already tipped its hand regarding a potential defense. A Disney spokesman noted that a verbal safety message sounds before the boat departs from the dock at the start of the ride. However, the Sentinel article did not make it clear whether the warning was a prerecorded message or whether employees who operate the ride are responsible for providing the warning. The warning reportedly advises riders to keep their hands and feet inside the boat at all times. Reportedly, a sign also is posted in the area where guests board the ride, which reads “For your safety remain seated with hand, arms, feet and legs inside the vehicle. Supervise children.”
If the injured rider decides to pursue a legal claim against the amusement park, the adequacy of these warnings might prove to be a critical issue in determining whether the amusement park is liable for injuries caused by the ride. Depending on the circumstances, a court might find that both the amusement park and the patron engaged in negligent conduct that contributed to the accident.
If this accident had occurred in a Georgia amusement park like Six Flags Over Georgia, the patron would not necessarily be precluded from recovery even if both parties were negligent. Under Georgia law, a jury can find that the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit also engaged in negligent conduct that contributed to his or her own injury. In this situation, the judgment will be reduced by the proportion of fault assigned to the injury victim up to fifty percent. Only if the injured rider is determined to be fifty percent or more at-fault would recovery be barred.
In some situations other parties, such as a manufacturer of a part or a ride can be liable for a visitor's injuries.
If you or a family member is injured in an amusement park accident, you might have a right to financial compensation.
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