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In 2017, a roller coaster derailed in Florida, which was also once used in a Delaware amusement park. The accident injured 10 people, two of whom suffered serious injuries. The ride was taken out of commission for corrosion and damaged parts twice that year. A ride inspector cleared it for operation only a few months before the accident.
In a separate incident, a 14-year-old girl from Delaware fell from a gondola ride at an amusement park in New York. She was caught by Samaritans standing on the ground below. The gondola was inspected and found to have no mechanical issues. The police speculate that her own actions caused the fall.
A 49-year-old woman fell off a ride in Rehoboth Beach, injuring her head and the left side of her body. Park officials waited several days before commenting and finally reported that there were no mechanical issues with the ride. They also stated that they were doing their part to make the ride safer as well.
Although the above incidents may seem alarming, the fact is that thousands of people all over the nation are injured each year at amusement parks, and it is not always clear who is to blame.
Amusement park owners have a duty to keep all customers safe. This means that they must maintain the rides, activities, walkways, and all other areas of their amusement park. If the park owner or manager knows of a dangerous condition, the hazard must be repaired immediately, or guests need to be properly warned of the impending danger.
However, in the case of the previously mentioned derailed roller coaster, the cause of the derailment is an important factor when determining liability. In this case, negligence occurred if:
It is important to keep in mind that amusement parks are not automatically responsible for all patron injuries. If a paying guest behaves recklessly by ignoring ride rules and safety regulations, insurance companies and courts will most likely find the guest liable for their own injuries.
When a paying guest is injured due to negligence at an amusement park, the laws of premises liability may allow the patron to collect compensation for medical bills and other recovery costs, but trespassers may have little recourse. Trespassers in an amusement park are:
However, there are certain circumstances where the park may be held responsible for injuries to trespassers. For example, a park owner may be liable for a trespasser’s injuries if the park owner knew a damaged walkway was used by the public when the park was closed or if an injury occurred in a dangerous area that was not clearly marked as hazardous.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries from an amusement park accident, call the Bear personal injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Our team will offer dedicated assistance to determine who is liable for your injury and what compensation you may be entitled. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We have three convenient locations in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware to serve clients throughout the state.