Injuries are a common occurrence at many of Orlando’s major theme parks. Visitors sustain injuries ranging from typical bumps and bruises to more serious injuries, such as broken bones, fractures, and traumatic brain injuries. Unfortunately, the public does not always hear about these incidents when they occur. State regulators are hoping to change that by working directly with Florida theme parks to ensure that visitor inquiry reports are made more accurate in the future.
What regulators are finding is that injuries reported by theme park visitors are not being reported accurately by the park. For example, in one case, a tourist who broke his neck while on a Universal Florida attraction reported the injury to the park. However, the park then reported the injury as “numbness” instead of what it really was. Another example involved a child who broke his foot and bones in his legs on a ride. Universal Florida reported the injury merely as “foot pain.” Neither of these reports truly described what occurred.
Officials with Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services intend to address this with Orlando theme parks, including Disney World, Universal Florida, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and Legoland in January 2021.
Universal Florida has faced several legal actions brought by park visitors who were injured while on their rides. In 2019, the park was sued at least three different times by people injured while visiting Universal. In all three of these lawsuits, the actual injuries sustained by visitors were significantly more serious than what was reported by the park to the state.
In 2016, Universal was sued by the family of a 38-year-old father who died after riding the park’s attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Shortly after the ride, the man suffered a fatal heart attack while sitting on a bench in the park. He had previous heart problems and did not speak English. The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family sued the park for negligence, and not providing warning signs in Spanish. Parks regularly report injuries that occur on their rides that lead to a minimum of 24 hours of hospitalization. His death was not included in the 2016 report.
Regulators believe that by allowing parks to come up with their own guidelines and standards for reporting theme park injuries, they are failing their duty of care to park visitors. They argue more oversight is needed to keep visitors safe and apprised of all possible safety risks. Regulators also want to see the parks update previous park injury reports to make the injuries reported more accurate.
According to the NCPSC (National Consumer Public Safety Commission) more than 270 million people visit theme parks annually. Unfortunately, these attractions are not always designed safely or maintained properly. Furthermore, employees may not be adequately trained or attentive enough to keep patrons and their families safe from harm. If you or a loved one are injured in a theme park, we are here to help.
There are things you can do to help prevent injuries at Florida theme parks. For one, you should never try and ride or leave a ride while it is still moving. Always keep an eye on your children, and if they do not meet the height or weight requirements of the ride, keep them off it. Do not get on a ride while intoxicated. This will only increase your risk of injury, but it can also impact your ability to collect damages if you are injured while on the ride.
If you or someone close to you has sustained an injury at Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay or any other theme park in the State of Florida, our personal injury lawyers are ready to help protect your legal rights. From investigating the cause of the accident to helping you get the medical treatment you need, the legal team at Wooten Kimbrough Damaso & Dennis, P.A. is here to assist you every step of the way and get you the compensation you deserve.
A civil trial attorney with the firm Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis, P.A., Mr. Damaso concentrates on cases involving personal injury and wrongful deaths and solely represents individual victims and consumers. He takes his clients' cases personally and is committed to their best possible outcome. His strong sense of community has led to his support of numerous charities in the Orlando area.