Every year, millions of people visit the nation’s amusement parks, a wonderful form of entertainment for people of all ages. Florida is home to some of the world’s most popular attractions, including Walt Disney World.
However, mechanical problems and other defects have hurt or even killed dozens of visitors at these amusement parks. Some of the most recent injuries are the following:
- In June 2007, a 13 year-old girl had both of her feet severed on a ride at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville.
- In August 2006, a 7 year-old boy from Florida was bitten on the thumb by a dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando.
- In August 2006, a 6-year-old boy from Georgia was bitten on the arm by a dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando.
- In July 2006, a 52-year-old man from Florida died after riding Busch Gardens Tampa’s Gwazi Tiger Coaster.
- In June 2006, a 12-year-old boy from Kentucky died after riding Walt Disney World’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
- In April 2006, a 49-year-old woman from Germany died after riding Walt Disney World’s Mission: Space.
- In June 2005, a 4-year-old boy died after riding Walt Disney World’s Mission: Space.
- 10 serious injuries and illnesses from Mission: Space have been reported since the ride opened in 2003.
- Both Space Mountain at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and the wave pool at Typhoon lagoon had reported one death and four serious injuries or illnesses since 2003.
The Consumer Protection Safety Commission estimates that the number of serious injuries on amusement park rides warranting a trip to the emergency room have risen to almost 5,000 annually. Unfortunately, the CPSC’s ability to gather accurate information is seriously hampered by the loophole in the Consumer Product Safety Act in 1981 — the so-called “roller coaster loophole.” This loophole prohibits the CPSC from regulating the safety of rides that are fixed to a specific site. While mobile rides, those that move from location to location – such as in carnivals and other mobile attractions – fall under their jurisdiction. Although legislation regarding amusement park rides has been introduced in Congress, it has failed to become law.
As a result, regulation and inspection of “fixed site” amusement rides are left up to the state or local municipality, and as a result, oversight varies from good to none. A majority of states and municipalities provide some type of regulation (i.e., licensing, inspection, insurance requirements); the states containing the largest number of amusement parks (i.e., California, Florida, Ohio) do have some oversight. However, consumers have no way of finding out how many guests have been seriously injured on rides at parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios Florida.
Florida’s largest amusement parks, including Walt Disney World, are exempt from state regulations that require mandatory reporting of injuries and give the state authority to shut down and inspect rides. Disney voluntarily submits to safety inspections.
CPSC has stated that several factors are at fault in the amusement park accidents: consumer behavior, operator behavior, mechanical failure and design defects or limitations.
Liability for amusement park accidents and theme park injuries involves three types of law – negligence or tort law, product liability law and premises liability law. These laws are complex and require the expertise of a Florida personal injury lawyer with experience handling amusement park accident injury cases.
At Martinez Manglardi, our personal injury lawyers are committed to protecting the safety of Florida’s families. We represent the injured in Orlando, Orange County, Kissimmee, Osceola County, Apopka, Seminole County, Palm Bay, Brevard County, Ocala and throughout Florida. Our cases are handled by a team of professionals, including nurses, doctors, engineers and other experts. State-of-the-art technology is utilized to effectively present claims. If you or a loved one has been a victim of personal injury, contact us today via our online contact form, or call our Orlando, Kissimmee, Apopka, Palm Bay or Ocala offices at 407-846-2240.Whether your case is settled or tried, you can be assured that Martinez Manglardi has obtained the maximum possible amount of damages in your case.