Today, many amusement parks contain water parks and water rides. These wet zones may be physically separated from the main park and charge separate admission to patrons, or may simply consist of a few rides confined to one corner of the park proper. In either case, these liquid attractions are immensely popular during the hot summer months, and for many, a day at the amusement park would not be complete without a ride down a water slide or dip in the wave pool.
But unfortunately, while water-based attractions can be an excellent way to “beat the heat,” they can also cause serious accidents and injuries. If a theme park is negligent in the way it inspects, cleans, maintains, or supervises water rides and the patrons who visit them, and a person is seriously injured or killed as a result, the park may possibly be financially liable for the losses to the victim.
If you were hurt while visiting one of these attractions, or if one of your family members was wrongfully killed, you could have a right to claim compensation for the devastating losses you have incurred. Let the experienced water park ride accident lawyers help you seek justice during this difficult and challenging time. To schedule your free and private legal consultation, call us right away at (215) 709-6940.
Types of Water Park Rides
- Water Slide
- Wave Pool
- Water Coaster
- Inflatable Floats
- Speed Slide
- Inner Tubing Rides
- Leisure Rivers
Causes of Waterpark Accidents
- Improper warnings/signage
- Inaccurate or failure to enforce weight and height limits
- Water slides can shoot people into pools faster than they can take a deep breath
- Rides demand more physical strength and control than riders have
- Ride failure
- Poor or nonexistent maintenance
- Lifeguard oversight
One of the main problems that cause injury and death on water park rides is that patrons can’t anticipate how their bodies will respond to the components or conditions of a ride. If a rider doesn’t know how to react or adjust and control their body, then they may suffer serious injury or worse, death.
Water flow, water depth levels, and rider timing are all aspects of water park rides that ride operators and water park management may neglect or fail to properly control.
Common Injuries Caused by Water Park Ride Accidents
Many people have been catastrophically injured or have tragically passed away due to accidents at water parks over the years. These incidents do not discriminate by age, gender, or physical fitness: anyone can become a victim if a given park fails to take the reasonable safety precautions.
Injuries that can be caused by water ride accidents include:
- Back Injuries
- Bone Fractures
- Brain Damage
- Facial Injuries
- Internal Bleeding
- Internal Injuries
- Neck Injuries
- Organ Damage
- Severe Blood Loss
- Severed Limbs
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
Some of these injuries may never fully heal, and can completely alter the course of the victim’s life forever. These issues can limit physical capabilities, cause severe ongoing emotional distress, and necessitate costly and unpleasant medical treatment. Some victims may require constant care and supervision, or may lose the ability to provide for their loved ones.
Water Park Risk Factors
While many people associate theme park accidents with roller coasters and other “extreme” rides, water-based rides arguably have even greater potential to cause injury or death if any safety procedures are disregarded or violated by the park. Because many of these attractions appear to be tame, like the gently lapping swells of a pool, the danger of an accidental drowning death or slip and fall accident becomes all the more pronounced.
In fact, an analysis conducted by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs uncovered that out of 552 incidents documented over the previous five years, 122 incidents (approximately 22%) took place on water rides. By comparison, roller coasters accounted for only 39.
Water Parks Lack of Safety Enforcement
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) doesn’t have authority to maintain the safety of rides permanently fixed to a site. Instead, the organization only has authority over mobile rides that travel, like the ones found at County Fairs and carnivals. This is in spite of a CPSC report in 2005 demonstrating that injuries on fixed-site amusement park rides from 1997 to 2004 increased by nearly 25 percent as the number of park visitors only increased 9.3 percent.
Exempting fixed-site amusement parks and water parks from federal regulation is a grave mistake, and far too many lives are negatively affected by such disregard for consumer safety.
The World Water Park Association (WWA), which is the prime water park organization in the United States, has estimated that there are more than 1,000 water parks and similar establishments across the nation. The organization also estimates that 80 million people visited water parks in 2011. How can the safety of millions simply be brushed off as if it doesn’t matter at all? Profits. The water park industry is highly profitable, yet neglects to ensure that paying and trusting customers are as safe and informed about dangers as possible.
Suing for Drowning at Water Parks
Drowning is probably the most obvious danger specific to water parks. Unfortunately — whether the setting is a swimming pool, a lake, the ocean, or a water park — the victims sometimes go unnoticed, because drowning does not look the way many people assume it will. Contrary to popular belief, drowning does not usually involve screaming, thrashing, and splashing: in fact, just the opposite. More frequently, these accidents are actually very subtle. Look out for warning signs such as:
- An angled head which is tilted forward or back dramatically.
- Bobbing, repeatedly sinking below and reappearing above the water line.
- Failure to shout, wave arms, or move.
- Glassy, unfocused eyes, a blank stare.
- Hair obscuring the eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Low position in the water, often with the mouth at the water level.
Slip and Fall at Water Parks
It should also be noted that park visitors do not necessarily have to board a ride to sustain an injury: puddles of fluid and slippery patches can result in slip and fall accidents. The CDC cites accidental falls as the number one cause of fatal and nonfatal injury alike in persons aged 65 and older. Grandparents bringing their grandchildren and other loved ones to parks should be especially mindful of their environment and footing to help reduce this risk.
Water Park Ride Accident Attorneys
Amusement park visitors rightfully expect that park owners, operators, maintenance workers, and other employees will take all reasonable steps to help ensure safety for child and adult guests alike. But while most visits will be free of incident, the reality is that numerous water parks have been the sites of accidents in the past.
A claim cannot turn back the hands of time. However, it does have the potential to help recover your financial losses, and to give you peace of mind. The attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm have more than 34 years of experience litigating a wide variety of water park cases, and we are dedicated to providing aggressive representation for our clients. Our committed legal team will work tirelessly on your behalf in the pursuit of justice and fair compensation, so call us today to get started.
If you or someone you love was injured, you deserve the benefit of a thorough investigation into your accident to uncover the truth. To schedule a private and cost-free case evaluation, call the attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940, or contact us online today.