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Can You Sue if You’re Injured at a Theme Park?

From thrilling roller coasters to splashing water rides, theme parks provide exciting entertainment for guests of all ages. However, when park owners and operators fail to maintain proper safety standards, serious injuries can occur, even when guests follow the rules.

If you or a loved one were harmed due to negligence at a Wisconsin theme park, you may have grounds to pursue compensation through a premises liability claim. A Wisconsin premises liability lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and hold the responsible parties accountable for the harm they cause.

Premises Liability at Theme Parks: Who’s Liable for Accidents?

Under Wisconsin premises liability laws, property owners owe a duty of ordinary care to those lawfully on their premises, which includes taking reasonable steps to make the property safe and warning visitors of potential hazards. For theme parks, this duty extends to ensuring:

  • Inspecting, Maintaining, and Repairing Rides: Theme parks must routinely inspect rides to identify potential safety issues like worn parts, structural defects, or faulty safety mechanisms.
  • Providing Clear Safety Instructions and Warnings: Parks must display height, weight, age, and health restrictions for rides. This includes signs that say: “You Must Be This Tall to Ride,” “No Guests with Heart Conditions,” or “This attraction uses intense lighting that may not be suitable for those with epilepsy or who are pregnant.”
  • Enforcing Park Rules and Safety Protocols: While guests have a responsibility to obey rules, parks must enforce policies like ensuring riders use safety harnesses and restraints correctly, keep limbs inside vehicles, and remain seated until the ride stops.
  • Training Staff on Ride Operations and Emergencies: Park staff who operate rides must be properly trained on all normal and emergency procedures, safety systems, and how to respond to ride malfunctions or injuries.
  • Reasonable Housekeeping Standards: Theme parks must maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition by quickly cleaning up obstructions, spills, or other debris in common areas that could cause slips, trips, and falls.

Common Causes for Visitor Injury

Even when following all posted guidelines, guests can suffer preventable injuries because a theme park fails to uphold safety duties, including:

  • Wet or Uneven Surfaces: Spills from drinks, food, and water that aren’t cleaned quickly or uneven surfaces, like worn pathways to attractions, can result in slips and falls. Fall injuries can leave visitors with severe lacerations, bruising, broken bones, or brain injuries with lasting consequences.
  • Mechanical Failures: Neglected maintenance can lead to critical ride malfunctions, such as failing brakes or collapsing support structures. These issues can cause severe accidents, resulting in injuries ranging from minor bruises to catastrophic outcomes, depending on the nature of the ride and the failure.
  • Flawed Ride Designs: Some attractions are designed with inherent safety risks, including inadequate restraint systems or excessive forceful motions unsuitable for riders. Design flaws can lead to incidents where riders are improperly secured or subjected to extreme stress, increasing the risk of injuries or medical emergencies during the ride.

Who’s Liable if You’re Hurt at a Theme Park?

When you suffer an injury at a theme park, you can seek financial restitution for medical bills and other damages. You may be able to hold the following parties liable for your injuries in a premises liability claim:

  • Property Owners: Park owners and operators can be liable if the injury was caused by improper staff training, inadequate maintenance, or safety procedure violations.
  • Third-Party Contractors: If a ride was improperly constructed, repaired, or inspected by an outside contractor, that third party could share fault due to negligent work.
  • Ride Manufacturers: Catastrophic ride accidents or recurring issues point to potential design or manufacturing defects for which the ride maker could be responsible.
  • Individual Staff Members: Park employees may also be named in a lawsuit if their negligent actions, such as improperly operating a ride, led to the injury.

What to Do to Protect Your Rights?

To preserve evidence and protect your rights after a Wisconsin theme park accident, take the following steps:

  • Report the incident immediately to park staff and insist they document what occurred and your injuries. Get copies of any reports.
  • Seek proper medical evaluation and treatment from emergency responders right away. Explain what happened and where so they can assess your condition.
  • Take photographs and video footage of the accident scene, visible injuries, ride positioning, safety restraints, and other relevant details, like a lack of warning signs about the hazard.
  • Consult an experienced premises liability attorney before discussing the accident with insurance adjusters or representatives. An attorney can explain your rights and help you build a strong compensation case. 

Call Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers for a Free Case Review

Securing fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering can help your healing journey. Our compassionate legal team at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers has extensive experience protecting the rights of injured victims in Wisconsin.

We can help you hold the negligent party accountable and win financial support for you and your loved ones while you recover. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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