- Amusement park owners and operators have a duty to protect you while you’re on their property.
- Even if you were partly to blame for the accident, the park owner or operator must take steps to protect you from harm.
- To get a full and fair settlement, you must have proof of the property owner’s negligence.
In the Atlanta area, there is no shortage of attractions and amusement parks. From Six Flags Over Georgia, Skyview Atlanta, and Fun Spot America to Zoo Atlanta and the Atlanta Aquarium, our area has just about everything for thrill-seekers and family outings alike.
While you’re enjoying these parks or others like them, be aware that accidents can and do happen.
If you’ve been injured while visiting an Atlanta-area amusement park, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and related expenses in a Premises Liability lawsuit.
Why Amusement Parts Are an Equation for Injury
Although amusement parks try to implement the latest safety features, rides, like roller coasters, can be very dangerous. When you combine high speeds with the irresistible force of gravity, you have the potential for catastrophic accidents.
Georgia Theme Park Liability Facts
Georgia’s Amusement Ride Safety regulations require anyone who operates amusement park rides to carry a million dollar to cover injuries that happen on their property. Unfortunately, even though the coverage may seem substantial, with the increased possibility of catastrophic, permanent injury from rides and machinery, a million dollars doesn’t go very far.\
How Premises Liability Laws Apply to Georgia Amusement Park Injury Cases
According to Georgia law, amusement park
Anyone who visits an amusement park in response to an expressed or implied invitation from the property owner or management is considered an “invitee.” Usually, these are potential paying customers whose presence will benefit the business. The owner and operator are required by law to exercise care to keep the premises and entrances safe for these visitors.
Those who visit the property as guests or social visitors and not there for the owner’s benefit or enrichment are considered “licensees.” The property owner still owes these guests a duty of care, even if the property is not open to the public at the time of the visit.
Both invitees and licensees have the right to expect they will be protected from danger, at a minimum, by way of warning. If the property owner or amusement management is negligent in warning the visitor of danger, then the injured victim may file a premises liability lawsuit.
How Negligence Causes Amusement Park Injuries
Perhaps the worst part about amusement park injuries is that they are usually preventable. When an accident occurs, parks can easily evaluate how and why someone was injured on the ride and make adjustments, so future visitors don’t get hurt. This is especially crucial when thousands ride on a single ride every year.
When property owners are negligent to their duty of care, injuries – some of which can be catastrophic – are the consequence. Here are some examples of often neglected upkeep:
- Failing to inspect or maintain the ride properly
- Failing to remove or replace broken or dangerous equipment – for example, a waterslide with a jagged edge or a wobbly stair rail
- Slippery surfaces or trip hazards that invite slip-and-fall accidents
- Poor training or employing too few park personnel for supervision
- Dangerous rides, like roller coasters, that cause a person’s body to be whipped around through speed, gravity, and inertia that is too risky
- Little or no warning signage
- Failure to carefully enforce posted safety rules
- Improperly maintained or insufficient restraints leading to ejection from a ride
- Poor ride or waterslide designs that create unsafe conditions
Common Amusement Park Injuries
A few of the most common injuries that happen at amusement parks include but are certainly not limited to:
- Lacerations, cuts, and bruises
- Soft tissue injuries – e.g., torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- Muscle strains and sprains, including whiplash
- Bone fractures
- Dislocated joints
- Head, neck, and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
Why Amusement Parks Will Work to Escape Blame in Georgia Injury Lawsuits
An amusement park owner or operator may be unable to warn you of every possible risk that could cause injury on the property. You are also expected not to act recklessly or otherwise endanger yourself.
There is a provision in Georgia law that may reduce or eliminate your right to collect depending upon your own behavior. This is called Georgia’s Comparative Negligence doctrine.
If discovered, comparative negligence would mean the amusement park might be able to reduce the compensation package that it must pay an injured park attendee. The park or its legal representative must be able to prove that the attendee disobeyed rules or acted recklessly, which resulted in the accident.
A good example of comparative negligence in an amusement park setting would be if a parent snuck a child onto a ride even though the child was not tall enough to meet the park’s height requirement. In this case, if the child was injured, the settlement might be lowered because of the parent’s role in putting the child on the ride despite the posted rules.
Another example might be if a warning sign on the roller coaster expressed that you must keep your hands inside the car in which you’re riding. If you lose an arm because you dangled it outside, you may have difficulty collecting a full settlement. In such a claim, the amount of money the amusement park must pay could be reduced because the patron behaved recklessly.
Amusement parks have a duty to make sure attendees are fully aware of the rules. Even in cases similar to these examples, an experienced law firm would still work to understand if the rules were clearly explained and outlined to the park attendee.
Life-Changing Injuries May Result in Larger Settlements
Some injuries can be minor and heal quickly with little intervention by medical staff. However, other injuries will remain with the victim for the remainder of their days or, worse, prematurely end their life.
Fortunately, when an amusement park’s management acts carelessly or negligently, Georgia’s law is on your side. You may be able to receive compensation if you or someone you love suffered a painful injury that requires medical treatment or led to a loss of work. However, unless you are a lawyer or hire one to represent you, you might not know how to enforce your rights.
If an amusement park knows they will likely lose an injury case, their insurance company will be quick to offer a settlement without involving the courts. Their job is to get the amusement park off the hook as quickly and for the least amount of money as possible.
Amusement parks are aware that long-term, life-changing injuries can be very costly, especially if they are handled by a personal injury lawyer who understands how to calculate the high, lifetime costs. So, by settling quickly, before the victim knows about the full cost of treatment and care over time, they believe they can avoid more significant expenses.
Before you negotiate with an insurance adjuster, it’s an excellent idea to speak to a lawyer about your claim.
Why Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for an Amusement Park Injury Accident
Amusement park owners and operators know that evidence of your injury or how it occurred can be used against them. So, they may be reluctant to turn anything over to you.
Having an attorney who understands amusement park cases and how to demand the right information will help ensure you receive a full and fair settlement. A personal injury lawyer can also help you recognize whether negligence was involved and if you will be able to bring a claim against the property owner.
Of course, there are a number of factors to consider as you determine whether or not you want to move forward with a case. But remember, insurance adjusters may act like they have your best interest at heart, but they do not work for you. So, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney as early in the process as possible to ensure all your rights are protected.
A free case evaluation with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you better understand the best solution for you. A good lawyer will lead you through the maze of regulations and evidence to get you the best possible result.
They will know how to obtain maintenance records and surveillance footage of the accident, understand where to find witnesses, and how to gather any other proof you’ll need to establish your claim.
Call The Millar Law Firm and make an appointment for your free case evaluation today. Let our personal injury specialists, and their decades of experience, help you get the full and fair settlement you deserve.