Most amusement parks have guests sign waiver forms removing liability from the amusement park if guests are injured. So, when amusement park accidents happen in Texas, and produce serious injuries or even wrongful death, what happens? Did the waiver destroy any opportunity to hold the amusement park responsible for the injuries sustained on its property?
Understanding Amusement Park Liability Waivers
Even after signing a waiver, you still have legal rights following an amusement park accident. When you are required to sign an amusement park waiver, your signature serves to acknowledge your understanding that there are risks involved with the park’s rides and attractions. You have probably noticed that along with that waiver, rides have individual notices posted informing riders of potential dangers.
For example, roller coaster warnings often advise riders with back or neck injuries, heart conditions, or who are pregnant, not to go on the ride. As a person who voluntarily entered the park and has agency over which rides to enjoy, that waiver does put some responsibility for your safety on you.
If you have a heart condition and choose to go on a ride despite warnings issued in the entry waiver and on posted signs and then experience a heart attack, the park or ride operator may not be liable since you were aware of your condition and the dangers of riding.
Waivers Have to Meet Particular Requirements
For a waiver to be legally enforceable, it has to meet certain specific requirements, including:
- It must be presented in writing and signed by the park guest who must be 18 years or older
- For those younger than 18, the waiver must be signed by a parent or guardian
- It must be easy to see and recognize; it cannot be “hidden” in easily overlooked places
- It must be written in clear and concise language, without ambiguity
- It contains a specific list of known park risks and dangers
- Its contents do not go against public policy
Still, waivers meeting these criteria do not provide comprehensive absolution for parks and operators. The specific details of an amusement park accident will determine when you should file a personal injury lawsuit.
Causes of Amusement Park Accidents
Out of Compliance
Texas law requires every amusement park ride to have a compliance sticker. According to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), amusement park rides include “most theme park rides.” The sticker serves as proof that the ride is in compliance with Texas amusement park ride regulations regarding insurance coverage and inspection. To get a sticker, ride operators must provide injury and inspection reports, a schedule of operating locations and dates, and pay a filing fee.
Texas law requires every amusement park ride to have a compliance sticker.
Sometimes a mechanical failure is the culprit in an amusement park accident. Your personal injury attorney will look into the inspection records for the ride or determine whether the malfunction should have been reasonably detected. If the malfunction could not be anticipated, you still might have a case against the ride manufacturer.
Park attendees rely on ride attendants to operate rides safely and to be on the lookout for any reasonably observable dangers. Attendants are also responsible for relaying important safety information to riders. If they fail in their duties and someone gets hurt, operator error can give rise to an injury claim.
Accidents do not always happen on rides. Sometimes, park guests are injured because of a lack of security. Fights can break out and become uncontrolled, or attractions can become too crowded resulting in a dangerous crowd surge. In these cases, guests can be injured and give rise to a negligent security lawsuit.
Amusement parks need to keep their environment free of preventable hazards, just like any other business. For example, unmarked wet floors, spaces with inadequate lighting, or broken stairs or railings can pose dangers to parkgoers, such as slips and falls or trip and falls.
Pursue Compensation for Amusement Park Accident Injuries
When you visit an amusement park, you are a guest. And while you need to show your host respect, you have the right to expect your host to provide a safe experience. If your host fails and you are injured by a preventable danger, you have the right to hold your host and any other responsible parties responsible for compensating you for those injuries. The Dallas premises liability attorneys at Wolf Law PLLC are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Do not wait any longer to get the help you need.