Going to a theme park can be the highlight of any person's summer. For the most part, rides and attractions are safe, but things can go wrong. When a guest is injured at a theme park, that guest might be left wondering what rights they have to recover for their injuries.
Although theme parks frequently try to limit their liability by requiring guests to agree to liability waivers as a condition of entry, these will not always protect the parks. Surprisingly, theme park injuries tend to have a high settlement rate.
Can Theme Parks Require Liability Waivers
Technically, yes, a theme park can require all attendees sign liability waivers. Yes, a theme park can deny entry to someone that refuses to sign a waiver. However, how enforceable any liability waiver will be depends on the circumstances, and the extent of the liability disclaimed. Generally, waivers that go too far can often be entirely, or partially, voided. Often times, waivers will only be valid as to general negligence, and not gross negligence.
Even smaller theme parks, such as water parks, laser tag arenas, trampoline parks, and even mini golf, can require liability waivers be signed. Additionally, parks can disclaim liability for injuries caused due to a person's own negligence, as well as the assumption of risk.
Making a Claim Against a Theme Park
For most large theme parks, a person may be able to file a claim directly with the park to resolve their injury claim without ever filing a lawsuit. However, if an individual opts to go this route, they need to be cautious not to let their statute of limitations expire. Basically, if you do not settle your case or file a lawsuit within the state's statute of limitations, a theme park will not be willing to negotiate with you any more because you won't be able to file a lawsuit.
Often, even if you do not want to file a lawsuit, contacting an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your informal claim is a good idea. Even if you are partly to blame for the injury, a good attorney might be able to help you recover. Injury attorneys generally do not charge upfront costs and are experienced in negotiating claims. Most importantly, an injury attorney will know what is an appropriate settlement amount, and can ensure that your share of the settlement isn't eaten up paying back medical bills or insurance providers.