The amusement parks in the Houston, TX region are meant to be fun attractions to enjoy during free time, but injuries can and do happen quite often at amusement parks. Some rides involve high speeds, sharp turns, repetitive motions, spinning, and other movements that can cause bodily harm. If you or a loved one has sustained an injury at an amusement park, it is vital to know your rights and what options are available to you for obtaining compensation.
WHO IS AT FAULT?
When you are injured at an amusement park, you may face costly medical expenses, ongoing physical or rehabilitative therapy, or even permanent disability. People have died due to dangerous amusement park rides, poor safety procedures, faulty equipment, improperly trained ride operators, inadequate safety instructions, and a host of other reasons. Consulting with a Houston, TX attorney should be one of your first steps once you recover or are through the worst of your recovery process.
Depending on the nature of your incident, you may not have a complete account of what exactly happened. Witnesses will be vital to make your case, and your attorney should gather information from the amusement parks, including safety inspection reports from the ride in question, proof that staff was properly trained to operate the ride, documentation from the ride’s manufacturer, and other vital documents. Your medical reports will also be crucial—especially if your injury resulted in any type of permanent damage.
As with any other personal injury case, for the plaintiff to successfully prove a claim, he or she must demonstrate that the defendant (in this case, the amusement park) was negligent in some way. Negligence is defined as any action or inaction that creates a hazardous environment for others. Amusement parks have a duty to provide reasonable care to their patrons, and when they breach this duty and cause an injury, they are liable to pay for subsequent damages. Negligence can include:
- Improperly or incompletely trained ride operators
- Lack of regular safety inspections on all rides and equipment
- Failure to reasonably warn riders of age, height, weight, or medical restrictions for a ride
- Failure to perform required maintenance on rides
These are just a few of the ways an amusement park could be deemed negligent by a court.
WHAT SHOULD INJURED PARK PATRONS DO?
In some situations, a rider may contribute to his or her own injury, or the injury may have been caused by the inherent nature of a ride. Some riders may incorrectly assume they can handle spinning sensations, high speeds, or sharp turns. These factors can further complicate a personal injury case against an amusement park, but an experienced attorney can navigate them to an acceptable result.
Texas follows a comparative fault rule, meaning injured plaintiffs may have their damages reduced by a percentage equivalent to how much fault the court deems they had in their incidents. For example, if an injured person did not adhere to safety instructions, such as wearing a safety harness or keeping his or her arms and legs inside the ride at all times, a judge may find these actions contributed to his or her injuries and reduce the compensable damages by an appropriate amount.
No matter how complicated your situation may be, if you believe you or your loved one’s injury could have been prevented by the amusement park, it is vital that you seek legal counsel as soon as you are able. The Nielsen Law Firm has 30 years of experience fighting on behalf of our clients in the Houston, TX region, and we never shy away from litigation. Reach out to us with any questions you may have about an amusement park injury, and we will let you know what options are available to you.