For many families, summer means taking the family to a theme park or other amusement venue. Unfortunately, these establishments often have spotty safety records that tourists only find out when it is too late. Such was the case earlier this month when an 11-year-old boy died in an accident on a popular boat ride, the Raging River at Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa.
The boat the family was riding in flipped over during the ride, trapping them in their safety belts and rendering them unable to get free. Their son, Michael Jaramillo, subsequently died from his injuries. What the family did not know was that this particular ride had also caused the death of an employee five years earlier, leading to a wrongful death lawsuit by his family.
Closer to home, we remember the Circus Circus rollercoaster that was forced to shut down in March of 2019 after an individual fell from the ride. Since that accident, newly invigorated ride inspections and renewed training for employees has taken place.
Despite Being Mostly Safe, Amusement Park Accidents Do Happen
In Las Vegas, we have many amusement venues that attract millions of visitors each year. And while most of these venues operate safely, according to a survey conducted for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, there were 1,299 ride-related injuries across North America in the year 2019 alone.
Despite their relative safety, amusement park accidents can and do happen and when they do, injury victims may be able to bring personal injury claims against the venue.
Negligence and Amusement Park Accidents
In the state of Nevada, the most common injuries suffered in amusement parks include slip and fall accidents, roller coaster accidents, food poisoning, children falling out of restraints, and injuries due to falling objects.
Although these are often mere accidents or even the fault of the accident victims, they can also be due to the negligence of the venue, including inadequate safety measures, equipment failures, improper maintenance, operator error or impairment, or other cases of negligence. When negligence is a factor in an amusement park accident, the victim may have the right to be financially compensated for their injuries.
Have You Waived Your Rights?
In Nevada, some amusement venues require patrons to sign an assumption of risk agreement or liability waiver before participating in their activities.
While these are legally enforceable here, that enforceability provides that the person who signed the waiver was an adult who had knowledge of the risk involved, fully appreciated that risk, and voluntarily accepted it. Many individuals who take part in these activities don’t have a full and comprehensive understanding of the risks involved and have consequently gotten injured as a result.
Even when there is no waiver signed, venues and their insurance companies often rely on “implied assumption of risk” to alleviate them of responsibility if an injury occurs. These apply to activities that most people understand as inherently risky and still choose to participate anyway. But venue owners and operators still owe a duty of care to their patrons. If that duty has been breached, it may be considered a matter of negligence, and the victim may still be entitled to full or partial compensation.
Getting Legal Assistance After an Amusement Park Accident
If you have been injured in an accident at one of our amusement parks or entertainment venues, it’s important to get the assistance of an experienced Las Vegas personal injury lawyer who understands Nevada laws concerning amusement park accidents, assumption of risk, and comparative negligence.
Contact the injury attorneys at LV Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss your case.