California has some of the best amusement parks in the United States. Each and every year, millions of people visit the Golden State to explore its entertainment wonders, from Disneyland to Magic Mountain and Universal Studios. While most vacationers go home with good memories, accidents can—and often do—happen. Whether a roller coaster malfunctions or an operator makes a mistake, amusement park accidents can lead to serious injuries, and children are often the victims.
If your child was hurt in a California amusement park, you should not have to bear the burden of recovery by yourself. Instead, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to get the money you need to help your child heal.
Common Amusement Park Accidents and Injuries
Many of California’s amusement parks are as big as cities, and almost anything that can happen in the outside world can happen inside, too. Slip and falls, falls from heights, and assaults are common in parks. However, theme parks also present some unique risks, including:
- Roller coaster accidents, which may result from dangerously high speeds, poor track maintenance, operator negligence, or ill-fitting harnesses.
- Ride malfunctions, which occur when a ride’s safety mechanisms fail, creating unsafe conditions for passengers.
- Drowning, or other water park-related injuries, including slips, falls, and even bacterial infections.
- Food poisoning, which can happen if a licensed restaurant or another food vendor within the park serves contaminated or otherwise unsafe food to visitors.
- Parking lot accidents involving either two or more occupied vehicles or a vehicle and pedestrian. Since many amusement parks have massive parking lots, these sorts of accidents occur more frequently than you might imagine.
- Premise liability, or other situations in which an amusement park’s negligence caused a dangerous situation that led to injury or wrongful death.
While most amusement park injuries are mild, some can be serious—especially when the injury was caused by a ride or other attraction.
Children who are hurt by defective rides may suffer injuries such as:
- Severe bruising
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Loss of limb
In some rare, tragic cases, amusement park accidents can be fatal.
Who May Be Liable for an Amusement Park Injury
When your child suffers harm from another person or entity’s negligence, you may be eligible to claim compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
However, one of the biggest challenges in any claim is determining who is liable for your child’s injury. Sometimes, other visitors are responsible and could be held accountable.
But when a defective ride, unsafe attraction, or poorly regulated environment culminates in serious harm, the amusement park operator—or its contractors—can be held liable. This is because, under California state law, theme park operators have a legal duty to ensure that their properties are safe and secure for people of all ages.
Sometimes amusement parks make mistakes, like:
- Failing to inspect attractions
- Failing to perform routine maintenance on roller coasters, water slides, and other rides
- Operating rides that are inherently dangerous
- Operating unsafe equipment
- Appointing untrained or undertrained staff to safety-sensitive positions
- Not complying with other California safety rules, laws, and regulations
Since park operators have a legal duty to keep their premises safe and secure, a court may find them liable for damages—money you spent paying for your child’s hospital bills and physical rehabilitation, as well as the emotional pain and suffering your family had to endure because the amusement park did not play by the rules.
What to Do After an Accident
If your child suffered an injury at a California amusement park, you can take several steps to protect your potential recovery:
- Document the scene. If you are able, take pictures of your child’s injuries, the ride or other hazard which harmed your child, and its immediate surroundings.
- Collect eyewitness information. If anyone else witnessed the incident, ask them for their name, phone number, and other contact information.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Even if your child insists they are fine, see a doctor right away. If you have to visit a clinic on-site, ask your family physician or another provider for a second opinion. A doctor can help you diagnose and treat problems that may be masked by adrenaline.
- Call an attorney. The sooner you call an amusement park injury attorney, the better. Amusement parks have a lot of experience defending personal injury claims and will begin building a defense as soon as they learn of an accident on their property. You should always act quickly to protect your recovery.
Possible Compensation After an Amusement Park Injury
California has no cap on most personal injury claims. If you take an amusement park to court, your attorney will help you calculate the value of your case. We do this by looking at your:
- Economic damages, or damages that have a set dollar amount. Your economic damages might include the money you spent on your child’s hospital bills and physical rehabilitation, as well as the income you lost taking time away from work to care for them.
- Non-economic damages, or damages that are more subjective and do not necessarily have a set dollar amount. Your non-economic damages may include emotional pain and suffering, trauma, and disfigurement.
Theme park complaints often request a third form of damages, too: punitive damages, or damages which are meant to punish a negligent person, organization, or business.
Punitive damages are very important in amusement park claims because they provide an incentive for park operators to change their policies to ensure that similar accidents do not happen again. In this way, your legal action does not just help your child’s recovery—it prevents other families from having to endure a similar tragedy.
Contact Us Today
Amusement parks are supposed to offer fun for the whole family. But sometimes, theme park operators are negligent—and when that negligence hurts your child, you should not have to suffer in silence. A California theme park injury attorney can help you and your family get the recovery you deserve. Send Case Barnett Law a message online to schedule your initial consultation today.