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When Waterparks Turn Dangerous, Who’s Liable?

When Waterparks Turn Dangerous, Who’s Liable?

Waterparks are great places for fun and frolic, and central Florida has many: Disney World’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, Seaworld Orlando’s Aquatica, Adventure Island in Tampa, Buccaneer Bay at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and LEGOLAND Florida Park in Winter Haven. The great majority of visitors to these amusements enjoy them safely each year.

But patrons are not immune to danger. As mentioned in a recent post on this blog, a 70-year-old man died of a heart attack in a wave pool at Blizzard Beach last year and a much younger man fractured his ankle on a water slide at Typhoon Lagoon.

Water park mishaps can be of several types and causes, including:

  • Falls off water slides
  • Bodily trauma suffered on a slide or upon landing
  • Injuries from failures of slide components or supporting structures
  • Slips and falls on wet surfaces
  • Exposure to pathogens and other viral or bacterial infections
  • Drowning

Lifeguards and other personnel can contribute to these injuries by inattentiveness to people in distress.

So what can you do when you’re hurt at a water park? Your injury or illness might be the fault of the water park’s owners and operators, who have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that their premises and attractions are safe for guests. It may also be the fault of a water slide’s designer, manufacturer or inspector, of a food or beverage vendor or even of other park patrons.

Possible grounds for liability include:

  • Lack of proper inspection of slides and other structures
  • Failure to train lifeguards and other personnel adequately
  • Inadequate warnings about risks associated with slides and attractions
  • Unreasonably slippery foot-traffic areas
  • Obstructions likely to cause trips
  • Hard surfaces where riders or swimmers are likely to impact
  • Failure to keep pools and other bodies of water sanitary
  • Serving contaminated food and beverages at park concessions
  • Defective design or manufacture of water slides and structures
  • Horseplay or other unsafe behavior by patrons

If you were reasonably careful yourself and still suffered an injury, you may have a valid personal injury claim against the water park and other potentially responsible parties. You have four years from the date of injury in which to bring suit.

Water park injury lawsuits require special handling. The park owner may try to shift the blame, claiming your conduct contributed to the accident. For instance, if you slipped on a wet surface, they may try to prove that you were walking carelessly. Another potential defense is that you assumed the risk of being injured when you bought your ticket, with a small-print disclaimer on the back.

At Largey Law Firm, well are well-steeped in the intricacies of water park accident cases. If you or a love one were injured at a water park in central Florida, call us at 352.508.1485 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at one of our three offices in Clermont, Inverness or Tavares.

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