What are the Legal Rights of a Guest Against Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, Lego Land, and Other Theme Parks When a Child is Injured?
Florida is a tourist destintation in part because of the warm weather, beaches, and, yes the variety of theme parks including but not limited to Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and Lego Land. When a person is injured at a Florida theme park, there are many questions, issues, and challenges that arise. Believe me, the theme park managers and workers are well aware of the risk of injury to guests. In addition, the managers and workers have been trained and instructed as to the potential for lawsuits and insurance claims from these incidents. If an incident report is prepared, there is no duty that the theme park provide the guest a copy. Furthermore, the preparation of the incident report is not to make the claim easier for the guest but to document the circumstances of the incident especially the actions by the staff to defend the case in the future if a claim or lawsuit is pursued by the guest. Here are the four basic elements that need to be proved to establish a case or claim against a Florida theme park:
- Breach of Duty;
- Caustion; and
A theme park is not an absolute insurer of the safety of guests including the visitors who are children. That seems like a complicated statement. Let’s simplify it. Just because an injury takes place on the grounds of a theme park - that does not mean that the theme park is liable or responsible for the injuries and medical bills. Here is an example. A child is walking on the grounds of the theme park. Out of the blue, the child collapses and is taken to the local hospital. It is determined that the child had a congenital defect with her heart. Under this basic fact scenario, the theme park did not cause or contribute to the child’s collapse or condition in any manner. The theme park’s only connection with this medical incident or complication is that the child collapsed while visiting the theme park. Under this fact scenario, there would be no liability or responsibility on behalf of the theme park, its managers, or its employees.
Let’s now explore a different scenario. A child is visiting the food court area of a theme park. Near the ketchup and condiment area, the child was cut or lacerated by a sharp edge. The trim around the edge of the counter was worn and ripped away. The child required nine stitches. Under this scenario, it appears that the theme park and its staff knew or should have known about the dangerous area. There was a duty to properly and reasonably maintain the food court area and the theme park breached this duty. As a result of the breach of duty (causation), the child suffered injuries (damages) in the form of the laceration to the hand.
The book titled - The ABCs of Child Injury - Legal Rights of the Injured Child - What Every Parent Should Know - has chapters on Amusement and Theme Park Injuries, Swimming and Water Park Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.