Water Park Premises Liability Suit Results in Counterclaim
It is estimated that there over 1,000 water parks throughout the United States. Water parks are classified as fixed site amusement parks and, as such, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has no authority to mandate safety standards for water park businesses. In 1981, amusement park industry lobbyists convinced Congress that fixed-site amusement rides don’t qualify as consumer products in the standard sense of the definition.
Without any federal oversight, individual states are left to mandate safety laws for water parks in their jurisdictions. It is known that annually, over 80 million people are patrons of water parks in North America. The industry’s attendance growth rates are estimated to average between 3-5 percent each year.
Water Park Industry In The News
Recent attention in the media concerning water parks has focused on the fact that data concerning safety and patron injuries is difficult to access. Last year Consumer Digest published an in-depth report examining water parks and the hodge podge of varying state directed safety rules that abide by no federal standards and leave some water parks to police themselves. The report’s main thesis was that while water park injuries are common and on the rise, the industry hires lobbyists to campaign against any federal oversight or regulations.
Florida Water Parks Safety Reporting Guidelines
In Florida, larger water parks with a minimum of 1,000 workers and full-time safety inspectors are only required to submit patron injury reports to the state once a quarter. The water park’s administration is free to decide how thoroughly they wish to investigate accidents where injuries were sustained by patrons or if fatalities occurred. Furthermore, state inspectors may not enter a large water park without the park’s approval, even in the event of a fatality.
Smaller water parks in Florida are required by state law to report any patron injuries within 4 hours of the incident.
Waterpark Answers Premises Liability Claim With Countersuit
Perhaps because of the recent increase in awareness regarding water park liability and the general lack of safety standards in the industry, premises liability claims concerning water park accidents filed by possibly unscrupulous people are also in the news.
A recent water park personal injury case filed by two patrons who alleged to be injured at the Kentucky Kingdom Water Park due to a flipped inner-tube was met with a counterclaim by the park. Kentucky Kingdom alleges in their countersuit that a friend of one of the injured parties came forward and submitted an affidavit stating that her friend told her she intended to sustain an injury at the park to obtain a financial settlement.
If the lawsuits do advance to a trial, a jury will be responsible for determining if the plaintiffs were actually victims of the park’s negligence or not.
Stay Safe At Water Parks
The best way you can protect yourself and your family while visiting a water park is to carefully read all posted signs and directives concerning safety procedures and height and weight guidelines for ride eligibility. Never linger in the pool area immediately surrounding the end of a water slide ride. If you have suffered an injury while a patron of water park please contact the Fort Lauderdale law offices of Boone & Davis by calling (954) 566-9919. We are here to help.