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    The Ultimate Guide to Travel, Vacation & Theme Park Injuries

    Vacation accidents claim many lives each year, and many more people are unnecessarily injured in avoidable incidents. Travel destinations, whether they be amusement parks or hotel resorts, are responsible for providing safe environments for their guests, employees, and other visitors. Families lose loved ones, suffer lifelong pain, and encounter severe financial hardships when something goes wrong. Working with an experienced resort tort lawyer can help you win the justice and compensation you deserve. 

    The U.S. travel and tourism industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually. American families love to fly across the country to visit theme parks, national parks, beaches, and festivals. Right now, we’re seeing a boom in travel spending due to pent-up demand after pandemic restrictions that kept vacation spending in check. 

    When millions of American tourists go on vacation, they picture days filled with relaxing fun and quality time with people they love. No one expects something bad to happen.

    Unfortunately, bad things happen more than you’d think. Vacation and theme park injuries are relatively common and can quickly turn a dream vacation into a nightmare. For example, a slip and fall injury on a slippery hotel lobby can result in a traumatic brain injury that leaves someone permanently disabled. 

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    Likewise, every year we see news clips of someone dying or multiple people injured after an amusement park ride malfunctions. These types of injuries leave families dealing with the devastating impact of an accident long after the vacation is over. 

    Death or injury after any vacation accident is horrible. However, families can file a claim or pursue a lawsuit when it happens. Lawyers will seek damages on behalf of the victim to pay for medical bills, lost income, and other effects of the incident. Our civil justice system exists to provide compensation for those injured due to the negligence of others.  It’s also the only way to deter the conduct in the future.

    Knowing when you can file a lawsuit for compensation related to a vacation injury is important because it holds liable parties responsible and helps you get back on your feet. Here is your ultimate guide to travel, vacation, and theme park injuries. 

    What Is a Resort Tort?

    Resort torts are injury cases that cover accidents or deaths on vacation, in a resort, or in some other recreational travel setting. They can encompass hotel safety, cruise ship injuries, jet ski collisions, theme park injuries, parasailing deaths, or any other type of leisure activity gone wrong. 

    Tour operators, hotels, theme parks, cruise lines, etc., usually all have a duty of care to provide safe activities and accommodations for paying customers and other guests on the property. However, people on vacation are all exposed to some level of risk while out and about. Everything carries risk, but resort operators are responsible for alerting people and mitigating unsafe conditions. 

    When someone is hurt or dies on vacation, a resort tort attorney can hold liable parties responsible. For example, they’ll examine whether the airlines, moped rental company, shuttle bus operator, amusement park, hotel, or some other party is responsible for damages related to an accident. 

    Risks People Face in Resorts, Cruises, and Amusement Parks

    Amusement parks and other resort companies typically do a good job of keeping people safe. You may feel frustrated with how long it takes to get a ride started as the employees move through each seat checking harnesses, etc., but they do it for a good reason. 

    The most fun rides are roller coasters that drop you from high heights and tremendous speeds. They give customers the thrills they’re seeking while doing their best to prevent injuries or death. 

    Just because an employee checks your harness before the ride starts doesn’t mean it’s always safe. Here are some of the most common injuries that happen on amusement park rides:

    • Neck and back injuries
    • Cuts
    • Broken Bones
    • Crushing Injuries
    • Burns
    • Drowning (water parks)

    It’s also essential to remember that not all accidents and injuries happen on rides. Injuries may involve:

    • Slip and Fall Injuries
    • Falling Structures
    • Electrocution
    • Food Poisoning
    • Sexual assault
    • & More

    Reasons for Resort & Theme Park Accidents

    Indeed, user error accounts for some theme park accidents. For example, if someone blatantly disobeys safety guidelines and injures themselves, the fault typically lies with them. However, that’s not how most vacation injuries happen. 

    Here are some of the most oft-seen causes of amusement park and other vacation accidents:

    • Mechanical Failure – Whether because of improper maintenance or faulty manufacturing, some theme rides fail and cause injury or death. An excellent example of this is if a safety harness latch breaks loose in the middle of a ride and someone falls out. This also applies to things like parasailing, jet skiing, and boating. 
    • Electrical Issues – Poor circuiting can lead to electrocution or mechanical failures. 
    • Operator Error – Many modern theme rides have automation that limits operator error. However, some parks still have employees operating rides by sight and hand, which can lead to accidents. 
    • Improper Safety Measures – Sometimes, employees fail to give proper instructions or the measures in place aren’t appropriate for the risks associated with vacation activities. 
    • Weather Conditions – Some recreational activities have restrictions around wind, seas and rain. In the wrong conditions, operating them increases the chances of an accident. 

    Tip – Theme parks must disclose any safety restrictions associated with each ride. A good example of this is when an operator says, “Please keep your hands and feet inside at all times.” In addition, rides must have specific safety procedures displayed prominently for riders to review. 

    Who Is Responsible for Vacation & Theme Park Injuries?

    Accidents happen, but victims too often rule out things like negligence when they suffer injuries at a theme park. 

    One of the biggest advantages of working with a theme park injury lawyer is that they can tell you whether someone else is liable for your injuries. 

    Understanding who or what company is responsible for an accident depends on the individual circumstances of your case. An expert resort tort lawyer will look at things like the following:

    • Safety practices
    • Maintenance records
    • Weather conditions
    • Weight-bearing limits
    • Manufacturing process
    • Employee training
    • Industry standards
    • & More

    They know how to identify mixups or negligence that led to your injuries or a loved one’s death. Expert resort tort lawyers will also allocate responsibility to the appropriate parties to best ensure you and your family get the compensation you deserve. 

    Proving Negligence in Resort & Theme Park Injuries

    Establishing negligence is vital to any successful theme park injury claim. To prove negligence, you must show that:

    1. There was a duty of care – The resort, amusement park, or theme park had a duty of care toward the victim (in this case, the customer or rider).
    2. They breached their duty of care – Whether intentionally or not, the operator, ride manufacturers, safety inspector, or some other park breached their duty of care by ignoring warnings, failing to demonstrate safety procedures, improperly cleaning, or other reasons. 
    3. The breach caused harm – The victim was injured due to the breach of duty of care. For example, when a ride operator failed to harness a passenger securely, the passenger fell out of the ride and broke a limb. 
    4. The victim suffered damages – To seek damages tied to any negligence claim, the victims and their legal team must demonstrate that the injury resulted in medical bills, trauma, lost income, or other adverse impacts. 

    A successful theme park injury claim or any other resort tort must typically prove all four of the above conditions. 

    Working with a Resort Tort Lawyer: What to Do After an Accident

    If you or someone you know is injured or killed in a theme park or resort accident, resist the urge to minimize the event. 

    People far too often dismiss injuries or seek proper medical attention because they feel embarrassed or don’t want someone else to feel bad over what’s happened. However, that is a significant mistake and can affect your ability to win damages. 

    When you’re hurt on a ride or anywhere else in the park, your focus must be on your health and safety. Here’s what an expert theme park accident lawyer would advise:

    1. Report the Injury – Tell the operator what happened once the ride stops. For example, if the ride collides with something and you break your arm, tell them about the impact and that you’d like medical attention. 
    2. Record the Injury & Area – Take photos of the injury, the roller coaster car you are in, and anything else relevant. Ask a friend or a nearby stranger to take pictures if you can’t. These will be crucial evidence later in your case. 
    3. Get Medical Care – Seek medical attention regardless of how you feel at the time. Because of the speed and impact of vacation accidents, many victims are in shock when they get off, which can delay the onset of symptoms. To be safe, see a doctor or visit a clinic to get checked. 
    4. Avoid Giving Statements – Don’t go into detail about how you feel. In addition, avoid signing any documents or giving any recorded statements to the theme park or hotel officials. 
    5. Hire a Lawyer with Resort Tort Experience – Once you’re safe and away from the theme park, get in touch with an experienced lawyer to discuss what happened. Do not wait…time is an enemy.  Evidence is lost or destroyed and witnesses disappear.  You want your lawyers to have the best chance of proving your case and that means acting quickly.

    Expert Tip – Injury victims should refuse any offers from theme park officials, parasailing companies, or hotel management as an apology for what happened. These companies often attempt to avoid liability with gifts like free tickets or reimbursed trips. In exchange, they ask you to make a statement or sign a form absolving them of any liability. Talk to a resort tort lawyer before you sign or accept anything. 

    Other Types of Resort Torts

    Accidents that lead to injury can inflict significant financial hardship on victims and their families. Imagine going on a vacation and paying thousands of dollars to a cruise ship, only to slip on an unmarked wet area and shatter a hip. 

    Injury victims sometimes can’t work for months after an injury. In severe cases, they live with lifelong disabilities related to falls or traumatic brain injuries. In Florida, people injured in parasailing accidents had no idea they were at risk before strapping into the chute. 

    While slip-and-fall accidents or high-speed collisions, like in a theme park injury, are more common, there are also other types of resort torts a lawyer can help with. Some of them include the following:

    • Negligent Security – If someone mugs, stabs, shoots or sexually assaults someone on a hotel property or in a theme park, a lawyer will examine whether the company and its employees failed to provide a safe environment for guests. 
    • Assault – People are assaulted on cruises or inside hotels while on vacation. 
    • Sexual Assault – Sexual assaults can happen due to poor security, bad lighting, and other factors. If t occurs by an employee of a resort or park, the employer may be liable for failing to perform a reasonable background check or provide adequate supervision.
    • Construction Accidents – Theme parks, hotels, and other facilities under construction must take special care to keep guests and people in the area safe. When they don’t, the prevalence of machinery and heavy objects makes injury or death more likely. 
    • Product Liability – If a company sells, rents, or uses faulty products that injure people, it can be liable for damages. 

    Finding the Best Resort Tort Lawyers in Florida

    Florida is one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations. The beaches, logistics, weather, and other factors draw millions of people from across the world annually. Almost everyone who arrives expects to have a ton of fun and stay safe while doing it. 

    The state’s reliance on tourism makes safety a priority. Companies like hotels, cruise operators, theme park owners, etc., face intense scrutiny when someone is hurt or killed while on vacation. 

    The law is designed to keep people safe, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. If you or someone you know is hurt or killed while on vacation or visiting a theme park, get in touch with the team at Leighton Law. Our experience and results in resort and vacation injury cases spans the state of Florida, and includes some of Florida’s largest verdicts and settlements. Find an expert resort tort lawyer who represents victims and aggressively pursues their cases to win damages to pay for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. 

    You can schedule a free consultation to discuss what happened and the best plan before moving forward. We have a proven track record of winning large settlements for vacation injury clients and employ winning strategies to help you get your life back on track. 

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