Water slides can result in serious injuries or even death.
In late May, a 10 year old boy was injured after riding on a water slide called The Wave at Emerald Glen Park in Dublin, California. This ride features a half pipe on an 80 degree decline with a three story drop. As the water slide reaches the base, the tube sits on a concrete slab. The boy was injured when he was launched out of the tube and hit the concrete base pad instead of sliding into the pool at the end of the slide. He was treated on the scene for his injuries before being taken to a local hospital, where he was released the same day. His injuries were minor. Importantly, the boy met the minimum height requirements for the ride.
What many people may not realize about water and amusement parks is that they are not regulated by the federal government. Instead, it is up to the states to pass regulations governing these types of parks — and laws vary widely. On average, more than 4,200 people are injured each year at water parks in the United States. Just last year, a 10 year old boy was killed on a water slide in Kansas on the first day it was open. Before the accident, Kansas was known for having extremely light regulations for water and amusement parks; now, Kansas is significantly tightening its laws. The family of the boy that was killed will receive $20 million dollars in a settlement with the waterpark, the general contractor that built the slide, the manufacturer of the raft that he was riding, and a consulting company that consulted on the slide.
When patrons of water and amusement parks are injured, owners of those parks often claim these victims have waived their right to file a claim against them. Whenever you go to a water or amusement park, your ticket often has small print on the back, which serves as a form of a waiver. This waiver attempts to excuse both the park owners and employees from liability for injuries that you may suffer there, including for intentional misconduct or negligence. However, there are many situations in which these waivers can be challenged, particularly with the help of a skilled personal injury attorney. It may be the case that the park was grossly negligent in how it built, maintained, or operated a ride or attraction — or that the waiver was never valid or effective in the first place.
These recent accidents at water parks involving children serve as a good reminder to parents that when it comes to safety, the height limit signs should never be a substitute for our own best judgment. In both accidents, the riders met the minimum height requirements. Both accidents also occurred on the opening day of the ride, before the ride owners and operators had an opportunity to work out any problems with the ride. Avoiding opening days may also be a smart move for those parents who are concerned about the safety of amusement and water park rides.
If you or your child has been injured at a water or amusement park, it is important that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible to help preserve your right to a claim. Contact the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free initial consultation. We never charge a fee unless we get money for you!