Millions of people visit amusement parks all over the country each year, seeking fun and thrills. Unfortunately, the government does not regulate most parks. There is no universal set of park rules for things such as safety standards, the maintenance of rides and equipment, and the qualifications of the crew. This is part of the reason why so many visitors are injured each year at amusement parks such as Idlewild.
If you or your spouse or child recently sustained an injury at a theme park, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our Idlewild amusement park accident and injury attorney at Berger and Green to see if you qualify: 412-661-1400.
What are some common types of amusement park injuries?
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) keeps a basic record of many of the amusement park accidents reported annually.
Thousands of people of all ages are hurt each year at theme parks. People fall out of roller coasters, fall from zip lines, get injured on water slides, fall in bounce houses, inhale toxic fumes, and crash without helmets on go-carts. They get crushed by rides, have cardiac issues while on rides, sustain injuries on mechanical bulls. The list goes on and on.
Below is a sampling of injuries visitors sustain:
- Head and brain injuries
- Drowning or near-drowning
- Strains and sprains
- Ankle, wrist, and knee injuries
- Internal organ damage
What are the causes of these accidents and injuries?
We can divide the primary causes of amusement park accidents into three basic categories:
- Visitor carelessness: When visitors do not abide by the park’s basic safety rules (either intentionally or unintentionally), they are more likely to get hurt (or hurt others).
- Park negligence: When park owners do not properly install, maintain, or operate their rides, accidents are inevitable.
- Health issues: Visitors with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, back injuries, or high blood pressure are more at risk.
Can I hold Idlewild liable for my injuries?
Pennsylvania law provides that victims can hold an amusement park liable for injuries when the park was negligent of its duty of care. Amusement parks like Idlewild have a legal duty of care to maintain and run their premises in a safe way so that visitors do not need to contend with an unreasonable risk of harm.
When the park fails do its part and it winds up causing harm, victims can file a claim or lawsuit against the park and obtain compensation for their losses (damages).
If the park was indeed negligent, then you have every right to hold it accountable for your injuries.
Negligence can come in many forms. For instance, the park can be negligent when its ride operators make mistakes like not properly fastening harnesses or stopping the ride too abruptly.
Improper inspection of the rides, failing to fix damaged parts, failing to install safety nets, and insufficient staff training are also forms of negligence.
Even insufficient security can be negligence if visitors are victims of assaults at the park.
You can hold Idlewild liable if you can prove:
- The park breached its duty of care, i.e., neglected its duty to maintain safe premises;
- The park’s negligence was the primary cause of your injuries; and
- You sustained actual harm as a result.
In some cases, a manufacturer for defective equipment or parts may be liable, not necessarily the park. To verify your eligibility to file a case against Idlewild or another company, call Berger and Green at 412-661-1400 for a free case evaluation.
Can I still sue the park if I was partly at fault for the accident?
Truth be told, a lot of accidents occur at amusement parks because visitors do not observe the rules. They climb on equipment, get intoxicated and try unsafe stunts, act wild in bounce houses, etc. If the visitor is totally at fault, then obviously, she cannot hold the park responsible.
But in situations where both the visitor and the park are partly at fault, then it may still be possible to recover damages. Pennsylvania adheres to a law referred to as comparative negligence, which provides that victims can still recover so long as they were less than 51 percent at fault.
In shared fault cases, the insurance company or jury will review the case and assign each party with a percentage of the fault. It is particularly important for victims in shared fault cases to have an attorney help prove the park’s fault and minimize their own because the victims’ degree of blame will reduce their award amount.
What types of damages can I recover?
While filing suit against the park will not undo the harm you have suffered, it can certainly help pay for financial losses and provide for your future needs while you are recovering. Plus, bringing the issue to light may force the park’s management to step up its safety game and help prevent other visitors from getting injured in the future.
Some of the compensable damages you can recover on a theme park personal injury claim include:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Transportation expenses for medical care
- Loss of wages and loss of benefits
- Loss of contribution to the family (e.g., homemaker’s services)
- Short- or long-term, partial, or total disability
- Miscellaneous expenses, such as assistive devices, prescriptions, hiring someone to help around the house
- Emotional damages, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, and pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
Where can I secure an amusement park lawyer in Pennsylvania?
Berger and Green handles all types of personal injury cases in Pittsburgh, including those for Idlewild park injuries. We can assist with all aspects of your case, from collecting evidence and filing paperwork, to proving your injuries and fighting for a larger settlement. Whether it be negotiating with insurers or explaining your case to the judge, we can advocate for your rights and help you get the money you are entitled to.
Contact our office today for a free consultation: 412-661-1400.