When is an Amusement Park Liable for Injuries?
Amusement parks, at their very core, are designed for our fun and enjoyment. But that doesn’t mean the risk of injury is any less significant than at other, more traditional, environments. Dozens of cases are filed with personal injury lawyers every single year.
When considering filing a case against an amusement park for your injuries, you may be wondering who would be held liable. In Michigan, amusement park injury cases generally fall under the concept of “Premises Liability.”
However, depending on the visitor’s behavior before the injurious incident, Premises Liability may no longer apply, and they could be held responsible for their actions.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises Liability covers the legal responsibility to keep a building, land, or otherwise defined premises safe for visitors for the foreseeable future. This legal term is most commonly referenced when visitors are injured due to insufficient care of the grounds or the buildings/activities themselves.
Large enterprises, small family-owned businesses, and amusement parks are all held to the same standard under Premises Liability. Amusement parks must regularly ensure that the condition of every single ride, as well as the walking areas and other locations, are safe for visitors, with the exceptions of freak accidents which cannot be avoided.
What are the conditions of Premises Liability?
One of the conditions for Premises Liability is whether the visitor was within their legal right to enter the area. Within the context of an amusement park, this means the plaintiff must have been a paying customer or was otherwise formally invited to the premises for a specific event.
Assuming you entered the park as a customer, the amusement park is required by law to keep you, and all other visitors safe. This includes carrying out routine checks for every ride to ensure nothing will go awry. If there was, for example, a malfunctioning ride or a slippery floor, it is their legal duty to inform you of such so you can actively take your safety into your own hands and avoid injury. If you were not informed, the amusement park could be held accountable for not fulfilling their breach of duty, which makes them liable for any visitor injuries in court.
Amusement parks are not usually held responsible for trespassing plaintiffs. Someone would be considered trespassing if they enter the park when it is closed, or enter areas clearly marked off-limits for visitors. Whether or not the victim really knew he or she was entering an off-limits area can be contested successfully by the top personal injury lawyers, which can increase your chance of receiving compensation.
The amusement park can still be held accountable for off-limits areas if, although technically barred off from the public, they were known to be used on a routine basis and no action was taken to prevent access.
Another important requirement for Premises Liability is whether the injury was caused by the condition of the location or by certain conduct.
When does Premises Liability not apply in amusement park injury cases?
Some injury cases do not fall under premises liability. If you did not follow explicit directions from an employee or did not adhere to general safety guidelines, the amusement park will not be held responsible.
However, your personal injury lawyer could argue that the case falls under negligence, and the employees were not trained sufficiently to provide visitors with the correct safety information.
Don’t suffer in secret
If you or a loved one was injured at an amusement park, you do have legal options. You do not, and should not, have to suffer in secret. Additionally, by holding the amusement park responsible for your injuries, you could start a chain reaction of positive developments within that park.
If, after your injury, it was uncovered that certain rides or areas have a higher injury risk, the park may decide to rebuild, redesign or completely close that section, saving hundreds of future visitors from harm.