Two visitors to Disney World in Orlando died soon after riding two of the resort’s less wild rides, while several others suffered various injuries while visiting other parks.
The information was part of a voluntary quarterly report the park submits to state officials, a practice that began in 2001. The parks are exempt from state regulation, but in turn agree to publicly release all incident reports.
While all deaths and injuries occurring at the parks are reported, the causes are varied. Catalysts can include:
- Negligence on the part of the park (either by maintenance workers or ride operators);
- Negligence by guest (failure to follow ride safety instructions, deliberate violation of rules, restrictions, etc.);
- Result of pre-existing or unknown health issues.
In some instances, it may be a combination of these causes. Only in cases where the park can be proven negligent can a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit move forward.
Our Orlando personal injury lawyers are committed to thoroughly investigating claims of injury by guests of Central Florida’s renowned theme parks. Often, such claims are predicated on the premises liability area of civil law.
The recent cases, according to Florida’s Bureau of Fair Rides, included two deaths – one in October and one on Christmas Day – following guests’ turn on popular rides at the park.
The first incident involved a 54-year-old woman who became unconscious while riding the Toy Story ride at Hollywood studios. She was transported to a hospital, where she later died.
It’s worth noting that even when a guest may have in some way contributed to his or her own injury, it’s not necessarily a bar to recovery of damages. Under Florida’s comparative fault model, the degree to which a guest may have contributed to his or her own injury may reduce the overall award of compensation, but will not bar a lawsuit entirely.
The second incident, in December, involved a young woman of 22 who lost consciousness after riding the It’s a Small World attraction. She too was soon after pronounced dead. While it’s believed she had a pre-existing medical condition, that information was not detailed in the report.
A consultant who advises the park on safety issues indicated it seems unlikely the rides, which are slow-moving and considered child-friendly, contributed to the guests’ passing. However, our attorneys would always advise in these situations a thorough examination of health and incident records. This is the first time since 2007 the resort has reported two deaths in the same quarter. One of those involved a 60-year-old man who suffered a stroke after riding a fast-paced ride and another 52-year-old man who collapsed near a pool after riding a water slide.
Aside from the two last-quarter incidents, the Orlando Sentinel reports the last ride-related death occurred in the summer of 2012, when a 54-year-old man suffered a heart attack after riding a water slide.
In addition to the two deaths, the parks reported 13 other incidents. (Reportable incidents are those that happen on a ride and/or result in an immediate hospital stay of one full day.)
Those incidents include:
- A woman who fell and broke her leg while stepping off a carousel;
- A woman with a pre-existing medical condition who lost consciousness after riding a roller coaster; She later underwent surgery for an aneurysm;
- A man who tripped and fractured her shoulder while stepping off a ride;
- A man who was hospitalized after falling ill while leaving a roller coaster ride;
- A man in his 70s hospitalized with symptoms of nausea and lethargy after exiting a roller coaster ride;
- A woman who fractured her shoulder after tripping on the bag of another guest while getting off a ride;
- A woman who suffered a seizure on a water slide;
- A woman who lost consciousness on a roller coaster ride;
- A woman who suffered motion sickness and extreme nausea after exiting a roller coaster.
Universal Orlando also reported five incidents, which included guests suffering seizures, neck and shoulder pain after rides.
Sea World reported two incidents, which included one guest suffering a collapsed lung and other reporting a “personal medical condition.”
If you have been injured in Orlando, contact Jacobs & Goodman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call (407) 788-2949.
Disney Reports Deaths After Small World, Toy Story Rides, Jan. 21, 2015, By Sandra Pendicini, Orlando Sentinel
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