Water Park Risks and Responsibilities
Imagine climbing a winding steel-framed staircase toward the summit of a fast and twirling waterslide. The sun is warm and high in the sky as you take in all that Vitamin D. The line is moving quickly, and your friends give you their leftover French fries to finish before you reach the top. They say it’s to compensate for the sting of defeat as they race you to the bottom, but you know they don’t stand a chance. Morale is high.
This is the type of experience you’re looking forward to when entering a water park. Having a great time, eating good food on a warm and sunny day, and in the presence of your best pals and/or family. The thought of something going wrong doesn’t often enter the minds of water park guests because they’re there to relax and have a great time. Nevertheless, water parks have a lot of dangerous aspects that can cause unfortunate accidents.
Frequent Water Park Injuries
As you imagined climbing to the top of a waterslide, there are a lot of heights located within these parks and falling is a safety concern. Along with falling from heights, there are falling concerns due to slipping on wet surfaces, concussions obtained from hitting one’s head, sustaining cuts that could lead to infection, neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries, near-drownings, and fatal drownings. Determining who is liable for injuries sustained begins by looking at what happened and why. Certain issues within the park that can result in injuries include:
- Inadequate lifeguard training
- Lack of lifeguards on duty
- Lifeguard error
- Overcrowded pools
- Improper warnings regarding hazards
- Failure to enforce height and weight regulations
- Rides that are too fast
- Rides that guests can’t control
- Inconsistent or lack of premises and ride inspections
- Lack of or poor maintenance on premises and rides
Under premises liability law, the water park owner(s) could be held responsible as they have a duty to keep the area safe for their guests. In some situations, an employee may be held responsible if they acted in a negligent or reckless manner, resulting in a lawsuit against them or against both them and the water park.
What Could Leave You Liable?
While all of this is true and important to know, just because an injury occurs at a water park it doesn’t mean that the park will be held responsible. New Jersey premises liability laws state park owners have a duty to keep their premises safe but to a reasonable degree. That means they need to ensure safety in situations they know could cause harm or that they could be reasonably expected to know of.
A park could defend itself under comparative negligence and assumption of the risk. Guests at water parks also have a legal obligation to conduct themselves in a reasonably careful and cautionary way. If your injury was a product of your own carelessness, the liability of the water park could be reduced or eliminated completely.
Another defense they could take on is your injury was the result of normal anticipated risk that parks assume guests understand before purchasing a ticket. You may have signed a waiver that dismissed liability to your personal injury risks, especially on a dangerous ride. Before signing any document, make sure to read any waivers you sign upon entry or ticket purchase; this could hurt your case if you decide to pursue legal action.
Did you or a loved one sustain injuries at a water park or any other place of recreation in New Jersey? At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have extensive experience in the pursuit of premises liability claims. Let’s set up a complimentary meeting to discuss the circumstances of your accident.