What You Need to Know About California Water Park Injury Law?

Water parks in California draw millions of visitors each year. While most enjoy water slides, wave pools, and other attractions safely, some visitors end up in hospitals. Who pays for medical bills and other expenses if you or your child gets seriously hurt at a water park? 

California water park injury law is generally on your side if you suffered harm due to a water park’s owner, employee, or another party’s deliberate action or carelessness. 

However, getting what you deserve can be a challenge. Water park owners and their lawyers will likely fight tooth and nail to avoid responsibility for your injuries and damages.

Morgan & Morgan’s tenacious water park injury lawyers can work tirelessly for the best outcome of your case and fight for what you and your family deserve. Contact us today to learn about your legal rights and next best steps.

California Water Park Injury Law Involves Complex Legal Issues

Individuals injured in water park accidents generally have the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible party and recover money damages. Cases against a water park can arise due to:

  • Negligence or willful conduct 
  • Premises liability 
  • Vicarious liability 
  • Defective products and equipment

Negligence

A water park owner or employee could have negligently caused your accident. However, you could potentially also hold another visitor or another responsible party to account for carelessly or deliberately harming you. Generally, to have a case in a personal injury lawsuit, a victim has to prove the following four elements:

  • The defendant owed the victim a duty of care
  • The defendant breached the duty by negligence or willful action
  • The breach caused the accident and injury
  • The victim suffered damages

Premises Liability

Any property owner, including owners of water parks, are by law required to keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors and guests. Water park owners must fix dangerous conditions as soon as possible, follow appropriate health and safety regulations, and warn of any hazards. If you suffered harm due to an unsafe condition in pools, water slides, restrooms, or anywhere else on the premises, you could have a case.

Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability is designed to hold one party liable for a third party’s negligence. For example, if a negligent employee causes your injury, the water park owner could be liable for your damages. In this case, a victim generally has to prove:

  • They suffered harm due to the employee’s negligence

AND

  • The water park owner is responsible as the employee was on the job when the accident happened

Defective Products

When a water park slide or other equipment causes your injury due to a defect, a manufacturer or designer could be responsible for your damages. Product liability claims can arise as a result of:

  • Defects with the design of the equipment 
  • Defects occurring during the manufacturing process
  • Inadequate warning or instructions

Since California water park injury law can involve complex legal concepts, consulting with an attorney can help to clarify your options.

You Agreed to a Waiver by Purchasing the Water Park Ticket

The water park owner could claim that you waive your rights to a personal injury claim simply by purchasing a ticket. Tickets to water parks often have a waiver printed on the back. This waiver is an attempt to free the water park from any liability in case of visitors’ injuries, including those from negligence or misconduct. 

While waivers can be enforceable, they do not always leave injured individuals without legal recourse. A court may choose to disregard a waiver when:

There is gross negligence or willful conduct – in cases of careless or deliberate conduct causing an injury, a waiver may be deemed invalid.

The waiver contradicts California state law – If a water park waiver does not adhere to California state laws, it could be thrown out by a court.

There are limitations of the waiver – If an injury occurred that is not explicitly mentioned, the waiver might be irrelevant. 

While visitors to water parks assume some risks, California law generally protects victims from the consequences of an owner or other party increasing a visitor’s inherent risk of injury. In other words, if a significant injury happens due to a park owner failing to keep the premises reasonably safe, you could have a case. 

Common Accidents and Injuries at California Water Parks

Common accidents at water parks can include slips and falls and suffering injuries on slides and in pools. While many injuries in waterparks are minor and may not require extensive medical treatments, some individuals suffer life-changing injuries due to avoidable water park accidents. Near-drowning accidents, for example, can cause permanent brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. 

Common Water Park Injuries

According to the Associated Press (AP), more than 4,200 people visit hospitals for injuries suffered in water parks annually. Common water park injuries can include:

  • Broken limbs
  • Sprains and strains
  • Lacerations
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Spinal injuries and paralysis
  • Infections from E. coli and other bacteria

Some of those hurt at water parks never fully recover from their injuries and have to deal with the devastating consequences on their home and work life.

Protecting Your Rights After a Water Park Injury

There are some critical steps individuals should take to protect their rights to compensation if they got hurt at a water park. 

Report the Accident Immediately

Insist on filling out an accident report at the water park, even if staff are trying to dissuade you. Make sure to get a copy for your records. 

Seek Medical Help 

You may feel fine initially after getting hurt at a water park. However, seeking timely medical advice can be crucial for an early diagnosis of underlying injuries. A medical report listing your injuries will also be essential if you seek damages from the responsible party.

Collect Evidence of the Accident 

The sooner you collect evidence, the better for your case. Ideally, start by taking photographs of the accident scene and your injuries if you can. Try to note down exactly how the accident happened and get the contact details of any eyewitnesses. 

Gather Proof of Your Damages

If you are looking to file a lawsuit against a water park owner, you will have to prove your damages such as medical bills, income losses and all out-of-pocket expenses that you incurred. Make sure to gather all the appropriate evidence such as: 

  • Medical reports and bills
  • Receipts for out-of-pocket costs
  • Payslips and wage stubs 

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

Perhaps your most important step for protecting your rights after you or a loved one suffers injuries is to call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Lawsuits against water park owners or operators can be challenging. A lawyer can offer legal guidance and determine your options. Morgan & Morgan offers free and confidential consultations to help those injured in water park accidents find out whether they have a case and could recover compensation. 

There Could Be Several Defendants in Your Water Park Injury Case 

If you suffer injuries in a rear-end car accident, for example, the at-fault party is generally right behind you. However, when it comes to water park injuries, finding out who is at fault and ultimately liable for your damages can be extremely challenging. In theory, there could be many defendants in your case, including:

  • The corporation owning the water park
  • The water park operator
  • Employees
  • Lifeguards
  • The city or council (if a municipal water park)
  • Other water park visitors
  • Waterslide and ride manufacturers
  • Equipment engineers and maintenance staff
  • Third-party companies providing goods or services

If, for example, a defective water slide caused your injuries, you could potentially have a case against the water park owner, the operator of the park, maintenance staff, and a slide manufacturer. Since several parties may be involved in operating a water park, knowing who is liable for your damages can require a comprehensive analysis of your accident. In some cases, investigators and technical specialists may be needed for evaluating your case. A seasoned injury lawyer has a team of investigators at hand that can help identify all at-fault parties, which can be crucial for recovering a fair settlement.

 

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