Articles Posted in Amusement Park Accidents

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Although the Walt Disney World slogan is that the amusement park is “the happiest place on earth,” dense crowds, darkness, and visual distractions create an atmosphere that increases the risk of a serious fall.  Guests of the “Magic Kingdom” or other Florida amusement parks can suffer severe injury when falling because of improper maintenance of walkways, sidewalks, and parking lots.  Our amusement park accident lawyers recognize that visitors injured in falls while touring theme parks or other major tourist attractions in Florida frequently face an uphill battle.  In this blog, we review a case where a plaintiff effectively used evidence provided by the theme park’s own expert to withstand summary judgment.

The plaintiff seriously injured her knee when she slipped while stepping off a curb on Main Street inside the park.  Her complaint alleged that Walt Disney World Hospitality & Recreation Corporation failed to warn guests (legally considered “invitees”) of unsafe conditions and to maintain the property in reasonably safe condition for patrons.  Because of this failure, the plaintiff alleged she slipped on unsafe caulking while stepping off the curb.  During her deposition, the plaintiff testified that she was paying attention and looking down at the curb as she stepped off.  She did not see what caused her to fall but noticed a broken off section of sidewalk caulking made of rubber that was bent after she fell.  Because she did not observe any other obstacle that could have caused her to slip, she assumed that the folded over caulking triggered her fall. Continue reading →

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People from all over the world flock to Florida for family vacations throughout the year. Many of these family vacations are centered on our state’s amusement and theme parks. Unfortunately, as experienced injury attorneys many people suffer from the onset of sudden illness, receive injuries, and some die riding the theme parks’ attractions. Our personal injury attorneys report that despite the theme parks and attractions bringing significant revenue to Florida each year, the state do not regulate the safety of its theme parks. Furthermore, a federal agency, and not a state-run organization, regulates carnivals and fairs.  Florida’s theme parks must report injuries, illnesses, and deaths quarterly to the Florida Department of Agriculture.

A recent tragic story illustrates the issues with the lack of oversight. According to the Orlando Sentinel, a 67-year-old man died after getting off a ride at an Orlando theme park. The unfortunate man fell ill after riding one of the park’s main attractions.  The theme park operators reported that the man died of a heart attack and suffered from a pre-existing condition of cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Theme park enthusiasts suffered other injuries and illnesses as well. Seizures, dizziness, stomach pain, chest pain, back pain, and neck pain were some of the injuries people suffered from Florida’s rides.  Some people fainted after getting off of a ride. Naturally, some injuries, especially at water parks, are caused by slips and falls. The slip and fall accidents occur when people are getting on and off the rides. Interestingly, in the recent report from the first half of 2016 published by the Orlando Sentinel, the explanation provided by the theme park for the injury or illness of the guest was a pre-existing injury or illness. The parks seem eager to point the finger at the guest rather than the ride for their wounds or sickness. Continue reading →

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A seven year old boy was hospitalized after nearly drowning at Jungle Island in Miami.  The popular local and tourist destination became the scene of a near death when the boy, who was on a field trip with his summer camp, took off his life jacket and attempted to swim to one of the inflatable floats.  Supervisors noticed the boy struggling to stay above water and signaled to lifeguards.  One of the lifeguards pulled the boy out and performed CPR until paramedics arrived. A spokeswoman for Jungle Island said the accident occurred near Parrot Cove and paramedics arrived within minutes.  The boy was crying by the time help arrived and was in stable condition when transported to the hospital.  Jungle Island is cooperating with officials in the investigation into the matter.

Drowning accidents in Miami are a major concern for many parents because children are around water all the time.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 4,000 people die from drowning every year. Fortunately, camp supervisors were able to recognize that this young child was in distress before it was too late.  Drowning, however, can be difficult to spot.  The following is a primer on what drowning looks like.  By recognizing a drowning child or adult, you could save their life. Continue reading →

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When people think about the injuries that happen at theme and water parks throughout Florida, the images of roller coasters derailing, safety bars failing to engage, and other dramatic events likely spring to mind, but there are many more basic safety problems that exist at these locations. A guest at one of these parks is more likely to slip and fall on a wet bathroom floor or trip over a piece of landscaping that has made its way into the middle of a walkway than be injured in a sensational ride incident.

There are hundreds of amusement parks and attractions in the State of Florida, leading to injuries every day. The skilled Miami premises liability attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano have more than 130 years of collective experience in getting the results that our clients deserve after someone else’s negligence led to a serious accident. If you were injured while enjoying an amusement park, regardless of the nature of the accident, we will do everything possible to get you the compensation that you need to recover from the harm that you suffered. We have successfully brought injury claims against the Dade County Youth Fair, Disney, Universal and many other parks and carnivals in Florida.

One of the big problems at an amusement park is the water rides, wading pools, lazy rivers, and other attractions involving water. Although there are potential dangers from the pools themselves, there is a big problem that results from the puddles of water that guests leave all around the attractions, including on surrounding decks, walkways, and restroom facilities. These wet areas are a real safety hazard. Although there are some falls where a child simply will suffer from a skinned knee and there are no further complications, if these wet areas are not handled properly, there can be dangerous falls leading to the following:
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On August 2, 2013, a three-year old boy drowned in an outdoor kids’ pool at the Kalahari water park in Sandusky, Ohio. The family has since filed a wrongful death suit against the water park, alleging the toddler was not wearing a life vest as required by the park and there were insufficient lifeguards at the park to monitor the number of guests. Over a million guests visit this particular water park each year, and while park officials maintain they acted appropriately, the state of Ohio has fined Kalahari five times since 2005 for lifeguard shortages and other issues. Two lifeguards were on duty at the time of the drowning, however state regulations require a third lifeguard when more than fifty people are in the water.

Drowning Fatalities Not All That Uncommon in Miami

Unfortunately, this tragic drowning is hardly an isolated incident. With over fifteen major water parks in Florida–and many smaller one–the risks of a serious accident or fatality increase exponentially. In fact, Florida has a history of ranking the highest for unintentional drowning among children aged 1-4 and, during certain years, Florida’s drowning rate has been as much as three times the national average. Of course, our Miami personal injury lawyers know that these numbers include drowning in bathtubs, home pools, public pools, in natural water sources as well as in public water parks. Nationwide, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1-14.

Miami Water Park Drowning

A visit to a water park in the Miami area should be a fun activity for all involved, however when negligence on the part of the park or its employees results in a serious injury or loss of a loved one, it could be necessary to file a civil lawsuit against the park. The water parks in Florida draw thousands of visitors each and every day, particularly during the hottest summer months. While there is a certain inherent risk associated with water rides, tide pools and other water attractions in a water park, in some cases injuries could have been avoided if the attractions had been properly built, maintained and inspected. In other cases, negligent park supervision may be to blame for drowning or near-drowning accidents. Tightened economies can result in water parks that fail to maintain equipment in a safe operating condition or who skimp on supervision staff in order to save money. In order to avoid a water park drowning in Miami, water park operators have a legal obligation to ensure the grounds are safe for all visitors.

Questions Pertinent to a Water Park Drowning in Miami
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According to abcnews.go.com, 2-year-old boy died tragically Sunday morning when he fell into the African wild dogs exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo and was attacked by 11 dogs. The boy was placed by his mother on top of the railing at the edge of a viewing deck in order to give him a better view of the animals in the exhibit. Almost immediately thereafter he lost balance and fell in, where he was attacked by 11 dogs in plain view of his mother and bystanders.

Horrific Scene

Authorities say that the dogs attacked the boy as soon he fell into the pit and that although police and zookeepers arrived within minutes, it was too late. Witnesses say that it was a horrific scene dominated by screams for help. First, zookeepers managed to call off some of the dogs, with seven of them immediately withdrawing to a back building. Eventually three more dogs were drawn away from the child, but an overly aggressive one had to be shot dead by police.

African wild dogs (or painted dogs, as they are also called) are roughly the size of a medium-sized domestic dog and weigh between 37 and 80 pounds. With large, rounded ears, they have distinctive dark brown circles around their eyes, hence why they are called “painted.” They are very aggressive and territorial, usually hunting in packs in their natural habitat in Africa.

The president of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Barbara Baker, said that it was not clear yet whether the boy died of the fall or was killed by the dogs. Both the Zoo and the Pittsburg police are conducting separate investigations. The Pittsburgh Zoo successfully completed its 5-year review recently, meeting or exceeding all safety standards. However, last May some of the dogs did crawl under a fence and escaped into a part of the exhibit that is usually closed, causing the zoo to be locked down for about an hour.

Moreover, although Steve Feldman, a spokesperson for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, claims that no one he has talked to recalls an incident in which a child has died at an accredited zoo in the last 40 years or more, cases of people being attacked by animals at zoos are not uncommon. For example, last September a man jumped from an elevated viewing train into the tigers’ pit at the Bronx zoo and was severely injured by the animals.

Similarly, in 2007 a tiger jumped over a wall at the San Francisco zoo, killing one visitor and wounding two others.

Zoo May Be Liable

Although the mother of the child in this case may have been negligent when she placed her son on top of the railing, the zoo may still be found liable: according to Lt. Kevin Kraus of the Pittsburgh police, there is no fence high enough to prevent visitors from jumping into the wild dogs’ exhibit….
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The newly opened Legoland has joined other Florida theme parks in reporting injuries suffered by patrons while visiting their venues, according to the SunSentinel.Com.

Injuries to be Reported to Bureau Of Fair Rides

The State’s Bureau of Fair Rides receives quarterly reports of certain injuries and illnesses from all major Florida theme parks. For example, 12 injuries were reported during the fourth quarter of 2011 by Orlando’s theme parks. The injuries included a fractured ankle caused by a slip and fall. However, the reports also include illnesses, such as the case of a 71-year-old man “not feeling well” before and after riding “Expedition Everest” in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, who’s reports have also noted that a blocked artery was a factor when a 43-year-old woman who complained of nausea and dizziness related to the Magic Kingdom’s “Space Mountain” ride.
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