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Who Is Liable for an Amusement Park Injury?

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amusement park ride silhouette at sunset
Roughly 375 million people will visit an amusement park this year. With their rides, attractions, shows, boutiques, restaurants, and activities, theme parks are popular destinations in the summertime. However, accidents sometimes occur. If you or your loved one suffer an amusement park injury, you might have questions about who might be responsible for paying your damages. Scroll down to learn more about determining liability in an amusement park accident.

Premises Liability and How It Might Apply to an Amusement Park Injury

Premises liability is a legal principle that controls the duties of a landowner or operator when a person present on the property is injured because of a hazardous condition that the owner or operator knew or should have known about. Visitors to the property of others can be classified into the following three categories:

  • Trespassers
  • Invitees
  • Licensees

Property owners owe varying duties based on these different categories. Most amusement park visitors are classified as invitees since they are admitted after they pay. However, they might also be trespassers who sneak into the park either during normal operating hours or when the park is closed. Licensees are people who are permitted to be present on the property of others for only their benefit and provide no benefit to the business. Because of this, amusement park visitors typically will not be classified as licensees.

For invitees, amusement park operators and owners are required to maintain their parks in reasonably safe conditions, regularly inspect them, and promptly fix any dangerous conditions that they know about or reasonably should have known about. This duty includes maintaining the rides, walkways, buildings, and other elements of the park. If the park operator knows or should have known about a hazardous condition, it must warn visitors who are legally present in the park.

For trespassers, amusement park operators do not owe a duty of care to prevent them from suffering an amusement park injury beyond not doing anything to intentionally cause them harm. For example, if someone trespasses into an off-limits area that has been marked and is injured, the operator will likely not be held liable.

Potentially Liable Parties

There are several parties that might be liable when a visitor to an amusement park suffers an amusement park injury, including the following:

  • Amusement park operator or owner
  • Third-party manufacturer or designer of a defective ride
  • Third-party manufacturer or designer of a defective component

Injury accidents sometimes result from errors made by ride operators. If the ride operator was working at the time that they made the mistake, their employer would be vicariously liable for the operator’s negligence.

Amusement park operators are also responsible for properly inspecting and maintaining all of the rides. When they fail to do so, the operator or owner might be held liable when someone is injured as a result of a hazardous condition that should have been discovered.

Some rides might include defective components, or the ride itself might be effectively designed, making it dangerous. In these types of situations, the third-party designer or manufacturer might be liable for resulting injuries and losses.

Finally, amusement park owners are responsible for maintaining all of the premises, including the walkways. If someone is injured because of potholes, cracked pavement, slippery stairs, unsafe platforms, or other similar conditions, the park operator or owner might be liable.

Contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave

If you were injured while visiting Branson because of a dangerous condition on the property, you might be entitled to recover compensation. Call the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today for a free consultation at 417-322-2222 or contact us online.

Files under: Personal Injury