There were many things people weren’t able to do during the pandemic-induced lockdown, one of which is going to water parks. Water cannot transmit COVID-19, but because water parks and theme parks are often crowded, they were deemed high-risk places during the pandemic. Children and adults who love a splash of fun under the sun have had to endure months of swimming in their own pool or tub.
For those who really, really want to visit a water park pronto, the good news is that doing so does not guarantee a COVID-19 infection. However, different kinds of dangers await. The first question you probably want to know before you make a return trip to the water park is…
Can I sue a water park if I sustain an injury?
One might as well ask, “Is water wet?”
To be fair, that fact may not be obvious to everyone. But accidents do, in fact, regularly occur in water parks and theme parks with water-themed attractions.
For a slip and fall accident to occur, there only needs to be two basic elements: a slippery surface and a person who could potentially slip on it. A water park is typically a huge, enclosed area filled with slippery surfaces, and is, therefore, a hotspot for slip and fall accidents. Add water tubes, giddy children, drunk adults, and inattentive lifeguards to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
It doesn’t help that some water parks seem designed to court injuries. Water slides, powerful currents of water, and gravity are the usual causes of accidents, but they are not the only ones. Water recreation facilities pose risks for injuries, which is one of the reasons why rules and guidelines for using them exist.
Sliding into danger
Many water slides (a common attraction in water parks) are also simply not designed with safety in mind. Often, the name of the water park is a dead giveaway that not much thought was given to the entire operation.
Take, for example, Water World in Erie, Pennsylvania. In 2014, couple Raymond Muldrew and Sondra Muldrew sued the water park for injuries sustained in a park ride called Bermuda Triangle. Mr. Muldrew entered its sliding tubes and slid down to the pool of water and landed on the pool concrete, heel-first. The couple sued the water park for $75,000 in damages, citing permanent damage to Mr. Muldrew’s heel. They also claimed that this injury resulted in him losing affection for his wife.
Naming a recreational facility after a notorious movie flop wasn’t the best branding decision. But at the very least, the operators should have given more thought to how the water slide and the catch pool were designed so that they do not cause injuries to guests.
A similar case happened in Magic Waters Splash Blaster Coaster in Rockford, Illinois. In 2015, seven lawsuits were filed against Magic Waters, operator of the Splash Blaster ride. The lawsuits were filed by water park guests who sustained a variety of injuries, and most of them cited under-inflated rafts and insufficient support which caused the injuries.
Frankly, that is just not an amusement ride that anyone who cares for their safety should be taking.
Can I sue a particular body of water in a water park for being infected with a virus?
Nope. Instead, you can file suit against the operators for neglecting to control an outbreak caused by a contagious virus.
If you enter a humongous water slide, it’s reasonable to expect that you will feel some discomfort from having your body bounce and slam into slippery surfaces and then land in a pool. What’s not reasonable is to expect to get an infection from visiting a water park that’s the source of an outbreak of the highly contagious norovirus.
In 2008, Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Water Park in New York was the subject of a class-action lawsuit for being responsible for its guests of around 600 contracting gastrointestinal illness and other norovirus-related diseases. The class members included visitors around March 2008 who suffered from brief but severe bouts of illness. The theme park allegedly remained open despite the ongoing outbreak.
Here’s hoping they had the good sense to close during the worst COVID-19 outbreak in New York.
In a water park-related lawsuit, different parties can be blamed by guests who sustain an injury or suffer from an illness from their visit. For personal injury cases in Washington state, call attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams at 206-432-4163 or leave us a message.