Florida is a haven for theme park enthusiasts who come to the state for fun and sun. But, theme parks can be dangerous. Not only can a ride itself malfunction and cause injury, but theme park visitor actions can also present problems. Having fun often includes attendees being rowdy to some degree, and fault can become an issue in certain theme park injury scenarios. Personal fault, also known as comparative negligence, can also be a factor.
The mere fact that someone wants to enjoy a thrill ride at a theme park could suggest a level of personal causation. However, parks still have a reasonable duty of care for many functions at the park. Still, most facilities will require participants to sign a liability waiver of some type. The problem with the waiver is that it is only potentially enforceable under general personal injury liability circumstances and not “gross negligence” application that is assigned by a jury following a trial where egregious evidence can be presented. Waiver signatures only go so far as a defense.
What is “gross” negligence?
All accident injury claims hinge on negligence, and sometimes comparative negligence can be part of the determining evidence. In short, the actions of the plaintiff can matter significantly in addition to any signature on a waiver document. The theme park management group is still responsible for maintaining a reasonably safe attraction that has been advertised to the public, and when all factors are presented, there could be evidence that they have failed and failed extensively in providing this duty of care. This is “gross” negligence and supersedes comparative negligence in most situations.
Gross negligence damage awards are usually what makes injured parties financially whole after the fact and especially in wrongful death cases. Everyone attending theme parks should understand the principle behind gross negligence. Even though an injury happens, do not assume the personal injury waiver will validate a personal fault claim by the respondent theme park management company. The fact that the company has required a waiver of any type means that they are already aware of inherent dangers with attractions.