Amusement parks, theme parks, and water parks seem to be everywhere in Virginia. In the summer, county and municipal fairs offer additional opportunities to enjoy all the fun to be had on rides, water slides, and concessions in a carnival-like atmosphere. Water and theme parks abound, from the Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach and the Portsmouth Splash Park, to mainstays like Water Country USA, Busch Gardens, and King’s Dominion — to name just a few. Families and friends visit parks to have a good time and create wonderful memories. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents and injuries do occur. When people suffer injuries from amusement park and water park accidents, who pays for medical expenses and other losses?
Types of Accidents at Amusement and Water Parks
Accidents often occur on rides at amusement parks, but other injuries are frequent as well, including slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents and illness from food poisoning and contamination. At water parks, the vast majority of accidents occur on water slides.
Injuries range widely, but often are significant. Common serious injuries include broken bones, neck and back injuries, brain injury, heart attacks, and severe internal injuries.
There are many different causes for the accidents and injuries. Possibilities include:
- Defective equipment
- Lack of or inadequate posted warning signs
- Improper ride operation or maintenance
- Inadequately trained ride operators or park employees
- Inadequate safety precautions
- Failure to instruct riders properly
Water Park and Amusement Park Lawsuits
Just as there are many types of injuries and possible causes, there are different types of legal action that may apply when an accident occurs at a water park or amusement park.
In some cases, a personal injury action based on negligence can be brought for park accidents. If an employee fails to exercise reasonable care in performing his or her job, and the failure causes injuries, the park can be liable for the employee’s negligence.
In addition, if the accident or injuries resulted from the park’s failure to meet the legal standard of reasonable care maintaining the park so it is safe for visitors, a premises liability action might be the appropriate action. Amusement parks owe a duty to their visitors similar to the duty hotels and resorts owe to guests.
Finally, when amusement park and water park accidents result from defectively designed or manufactured equipment — like a ride or a component of a ride — a products liability action against the manufacturer may be appropriate.
When to Talk with a Lawyer about Amusement Park and Water Park Accidents
If you or a loved one received serious injuries at an amusement park or water park, especially if permanent injury or ongoing medical expenses are anticipated, you should talk with an experienced personal injury attorney before you agree to any settlement with the park’s insurance company. Meeting with a lawyer before you even talk with an insurance adjuster is advisable.
Accidents and injuries at parks are complex cases. The type of legal action that can be brought depends entirely on the facts of the individual case. That means your lawyer needs to conduct intensive investigation before determining who is responsible and whether there is a legal basis for a lawsuit.
For a complex, serious amusement park or water park accident, it is critical to talk with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. If your accident or injuries occurred in Virginia, The Jeff Brooke Team has the right experience to analyze your situation and recommend a course of action. Having a local attorney who knows the laws and local practices can make a big difference in the outcome. If you or a loved one suffered significant injuries at a Virginia amusement park, water park, or other entertainment facility, we are here to help. Contact us by phone at (757) 552-6055 or by using our online contact form.
Jeff Brooke is a personal injury attorney devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligent and careless actions. The Jeff Brooke Team serves all of southeastern Virginia. The firm helps clients in the Greater Tidewater and Greater Hampton Roads areas, including in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Chesterfield. The Jeff Brooke Team also handles cases in northeastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.