Water parks are incredibly fun places – but they can be nearly as dangerous. A variety of personal injuries can occur on these grounds, from slips and falls to falls from height, food poisoning, broken bones, and drowning. Is the park liable in these situations? It ultimately depends on what steps were taken to keep the area safe and correct any known problems in a timely and responsible manner. In the event that litigation may be required, the following parties may be held accountable:
The Water Park
Like any other business, water parks must meet certain standards of care. That means cleaning up spills and correcting similar problems in a timely manner, meeting food quality requirements, and employing reliable workers.
For example, if a worker has a history of failing to meet safety minimums and the park doesn’t correct the issue – and that employee’s negligence eventually leads to an accident – a personal injury claim may be leveraged against the park to recover compensation. However, just because an employee causes damage, doesn’t mean the business will be held liable. There are certain situations where the park may not be legally responsible, but the individual worker may be sued.
There are two considerations when reviewing an employee’s responsibility for damages: accidents within an employee’s normal scope of work and gross negligence. Accidents within a normal scope of work would include things like a person slipping and falling on a wet surface (before it could reasonably be fixed) or a ride malfunctioning even though personnel were operating it correctly. In these cases, workers will likely be protected by the park’s policies.
However, employees may act with gross negligence. This includes lifeguards, ride operators, food vendors, janitors, and other positions throughout the park. Since these incidents are typically outside of the park’s responsibility, the victim will probably have to file a claim against the individual. For example, if a worker pushes or trips a patron, or a lifeguard is texting and fails to respond to an emergency, it would be deemed grossly negligent.
Though businesses may not be found responsible for these issues, there are exceptions. Personnel must be adequately trained, for instance. Consider a food service worker who is hired and put to work quickly due to time constraints or seasonal demands. If that employee was improperly trained and mishandles food, leading to a poisoning outbreak, the park, and the worker may both be liable.
Your Responsibilities as a Patron
Of course, suffering an injury doesn’t automatically qualify a victim to file a personal injury claim. In fact, patrons assume a reasonable amount of risk when they enter a water park. Some of these facilities may even require signed waivers or disclose certain risks that customers agree to assume when they buy tickets. This is one of the reasons why working with a West Virginia personal injury lawyer is important after suffering physical harm at any amusement park in our state.
Take a slip and fall, for example. These are more likely to occur at water parks just by their nature. If a person is badly injured because water isn’t drained correctly or safely managed, the park may try to say that’s a normal hazard for these businesses; the plaintiff assumed this risk by purchasing admission and can’t file a personal injury claim. Not understanding your rights in such a situation can cost a victim thousands of dollars in compensation.
Contact a personal injury attorney for specialized care and advice regarding any water park injury. This is the only way to know for sure if your case is legitimate. You may be entitled to monetary compensation, ongoing coverage for medical bills and rehabilitation, and even recompense for a wrongful death or extreme negligence. An attorney in West Virginia can also review any liability waivers you may have agreed to and fully determine the amount you’re owed. Contact Tiano O’Dell, PLLC today for more information.