People visit the State of Florida to take advantage of beautiful beaches, resorts, theme parks, and other tourist attractions. With popular theme parks like Disney World, Universal Studios, and Busch Gardens only hours away, St. Petersburg is the perfect vacation destination. However, vacation plans sometimes go awry when tourists sustain painful injuries at theme parks.
When people visit theme parks, they expect that the premises will be clean and well-maintained and that the rides will be in safe operating condition. This same expectation also extends to transportation provided by the park to and from nearby hotels and resorts. When there are dangers on theme park premises, the park owes a duty to visitors to either provide sufficient warning of the defect or to take the necessary actions to correct it. When this does not happen, serious accidents and injuries can occur on the premises.
If you or someone you love has sustained serious personal injuries at a Florida theme park, you may be entitled to pursue monetary compensation under the law. The knowledgeable theme park injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group can discuss the circumstances of your accident with you and may be able to help you pursue monetary compensation for your injuries.
Common Theme Park Hazards
Unbeknownst to theme park guests, hazards may be lurking around every corner. Theme park guests should be vigilant at all times and always remain aware of their surroundings. Some common theme park hazards include:
- Slippery floors and surfaces – Slippery surfaces can exist both indoors (i.e. at theme park restaurants) and outdoors in heavily trafficked pedestrian areas. These slippery surfaces usually result from spilled food and drink. When spills are not cleaned up in a timely manner, the theme park could be deemed responsible for any injuries that occur. The theme park is also responsible for placing warning signs or placards near slippery surfaces to warn park patrons of the dangers.
- Poor security – Theme parks should have security cameras located throughout the park, as well as in the parking areas. Moreover, security guards should be present throughout the park and be able to respond to emergencies at a moment’s notice. If an injury occurs to a theme park patron as a result of poor security, the theme park may be deemed responsible.
- Poorly maintained rides and other attractions on the theme park premises – All too often, injuries occur on amusement rides and other attractions due to improper maintenance, and in some cases, from poorly trained ride staff or personnel who are employees of the theme park.
- Transportation provided by the theme park – Theme parks oftentimes provide transportation or shuttle services to and from nearby hotels and resorts. If these buses and shuttles are operated by theme park employees, and these employees drive in a careless or reckless manner and cause a motor vehicle accident, then the theme park may be liable. The theme park is also liable for making sure that these buses and shuttles are properly inspected, repaired, and otherwise kept in proper working condition at all times.
Proving Fault and Damages in Theme Park Accident Cases
Theme park accidents can be difficult to prove because the insurance company is likely to place some – or all – of the blame on the injured patron. This is especially true with slip and fall accidents that occur on the premises. For example, the theme park may argue that the injured patron was not paying attention to where he or she was walking, or that the patron was wearing worn shoes with little or no tread on them. The theme park may further argue that under Florida’s comparative fault doctrine, the patron is entitled to little – if any – monetary compensation.
Nevertheless, the owners and operators of theme parks owe an affirmative duty to their patrons to provide a safe, clean, and well-maintained park that is free from dangerous and hazardous conditions. In the event a hazard exists, the park must take reasonable measures to warn patrons of the hazard or to correct it in a timely manner.
- Duty of Care – Since a theme park patron is present on the premises to provide a monetary benefit to the park, the patron is owed the highest legal duty of care. Consequently, theme park owners and operators – as well as the employees who are under their direct supervision – have a duty to warn of or correct known dangerous conditions on the premises – and to regularly inspect the premises for any unknown dangerous conditions. If they discover a condition upon inspection, they have a duty to warn patrons of it or correct it in a timely manner.
- Violating the Duty of Care – This means that the theme park violated the duty of care by failing to warn patrons of the defective condition or take remedial action to correct it.
- Causation – The injured accident victim must be able to show that the injuries sustained directly resulted from the accident. The accident, in turn, must have resulted from the theme park’s carelessness or negligence.
If the theme park patron can show that their injuries were accident-related, they may be able to recover monetary compensation for all medical bills and expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment or quality of life, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
In cases where the theme park acted in a particularly egregious manner, the accident victim may be able to recover punitive damages. However, these damages are only available under extremely limited circumstances.
Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg, Florida Theme Park Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
If you have sustained injuries at a Florida theme park and you suspect that the theme park may be at fault, you should contact the experienced lawyers at Dolman Law Group. Our team of attorneys can investigate the circumstances of your accident and may be able to advocate for you during settlement negotiations or in court.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg theme park injury lawyer, please call us or contact us online.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712