By and large, when you visit world-famous amusement parks in Florida, they’re safe.
All major theme parks in Florida have to report injuries to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The department issues a quarterly report that details all major injuries sustained at theme parks.
However, if you look a little closer at what theme parks must report, you may not feel as much sense of safety.
If you plan on traveling to a theme park this summer, you need to be aware of certain guidelines should you be injured. This includes “Lack of Full Disclosure” and when theme parks are liable for injuries sustained on their property.
Here’s what you need to know.
“Premises liability” encompasses the set of laws used to determine who is liable when an accident occurs involving injury on someone else’s property.
In amusement parks, premises liability law covers park activities, general condition of the park, and the rides.
In general, those present at an amusement park are considered either invitees or trespassers under the law.
The first is someone purposefully admitted to the amusement park, usually a ticket holder. They were allowed to be in the place where the accident or injury occurred.
The latter person is not legally permitted to be on the property, often someone who sneaks in without proper admission. An invitee can also become a trespasser if they go somewhere prohibited on the property.
For those trespassing, there is no duty to warn them of dangerous conditions.
However, an invitee is owed a duty of care to be warned of any conditions that may be dangerous. If the park fails to do so, they are liable for injuries sustained.
Amusement Park Rides and the Duty of Care
Theme park operators are required to make rides reasonably safe for use.
Often, they ensure this with these measures:
- Making sure those who ride are restrained properly
- Employees are properly supervising the ride
- Safety instructions are clearly vocalized and marked
- Frequent inspections and maintenance are performed on the ride
If someone did not disregard proper instructions or restraints, and they were still injured on the ride, the amusement park may be liable for the injury.
Lack of Full Disclosure
The fact of the matter is: Florida theme parks don’t report very many injuries over the course of a year. What they do report may not provide the full picture thanks to “Lack of Full Disclosure.”
Simply put, this means amusement parks are only required to report what they observe at the time of the injury.
Once a person is transported away from the premises for treatment, the amusement parks are not privy to their diagnosis or medical records. Thus, the park does not report the full extent of the person’s injuries.
Many feel that amusement parks in Florida should be compelled to provide more details when reporting injuries. It is the hope of people pushing for more disclosure that a truer picture of theme park safety will emerge.
So far, however, theme parks have not agreed, and the state legislature has not gotten involved —yet.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.