Atlanta residents likely all know someone who is afraid to go on rides at amusement parks. Maybe you are that person. In fact, most people experience some degree of fear on roller coasters and other rides, but that seems to be a part of what makes it fun. However, though it is quite rare, accidents have happened on some thrill-rides, which may be why some people simply refuse to partake in the fun.
Incidents have even been reported on rides at major theme parks. When someone is injured at a theme park, even if they simply slip and fall while walking, the park’s owners or managers can often be held accountable for the costs associated with that injury. However, one complicated premises liability suit that stemmed from a thrill-ride death at Walt Disney World is still tied up in the courts today.
A then 68-year-old man road on the Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World in 1998 and he alleged afterward that the ride caused him to experience a stroke. An Orange County jury ruled against the man’s claim in 2010, but his lawyers appealed arguing that the jury was not allowed to consider all applicable legal standards.
The jury reportedly was not allowed to hear evidence of similar injuries that have taken place on the same ride, and the jury also was not allowed to consider a general-negligence claim, which is different than a premises liability claim.
Another very important issue that the man’s lawyers have asked an appeals court to consider is whether Walt Disney World should be considered a common carrier. Common carriers, such as bus companies and airlines, are held to very strict safety standards as opposed to other businesses.
The case illustrates the many legal complexities involved in premises liability and personal injury law.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Appeals court hears Disney thrill-ride suit,” Jason Garcia and Sara K. Clarke, April 22, 2012