For good reason, the Wisconsin Dells secured a U.S. trademark registration for the phrase “The Waterpark Capital of the World”. Tens of thousands of visitors annually enjoy the water park attractions in the Dells and throughout Wisconsin without any problems or incidents. Water park rides can, however, be dangerous, in spite of the best efforts of water park operators and employees to keep their patrons safe. If you do experience an injury at a water park, you should promptly contact a Wisconsin water park ride accident lawyer to determine what rights you may have to recover damages for your injury.
To a great extent, water park patrons accept a degree of responsibility for their own safety when they go on a water park ride. Resorts also include liability disclaimers as part of their admittance contract when you purchase entry tickets for a water park. At least three different situations can nullify those liability disclaimers to create a situation in which the resort may be held liable for your injuries.
The first situation is where the resort is aware of a dangerous situation on a water park ride but does nothing to remove the danger. A section of a water slide may be broken, for example, or a protective barrier might be loose. The resort is also charged with regularly inspecting its rides to confirm that it is not exposing its patrons to dangerous situations. If the resort knew or should have reasonably known about a dangerous situation but did nothing, and a patron is injured as a result of that danger, the patron will have a valid argument to recover damages for his injury from the resort.
The second situation is where a resort employee fails to enforce safety rules, or allows unsafe conduct to continue when he knows or should reasonably know that the conduct might cause injuries. Poorly trained water park employees have been known to fasten safety harnesses improperly, leading to smaller patrons falling out of rafts and flotation devices and injuring themselves. As resorts become more crowded, safety personnel can become fatigued as they are required to watch larger groups of patrons. If the resort fails to train its employees or it does not give them regular breaks to handle their fatigue, and a patron is injured as a result, again, the water park resort may be held liable for the injuries.
Lastly, like public swimming pools, water parks have an obligation to oversee the quality of the water in their attractions. In 2008, multiple patrons of one water park contracted norovirus illnesses that they argued was a result of tainted water at a water park resort. The resort argued that the water did not cause the illnesses, but settled the ensuing litigation for a seven-figure sum rather than test its defense at a trial. A resort that fails to test its water and to maintain a bacteria and contamination-free water park environment is exposing itself to liability for its guests’ illnesses if those illnesses are related to poor water quality.
Critics have argued that liability concerns and frivolous lawsuits have eliminated much of the free-form enjoyment of water park resorts and similar entertainment venues. Apart from those concerns and lawsuits, resorts have a moral and ethical obligation not to expose their patrons to hazardous conditions. When they fail to meet those obligations, an experienced attorney will be the best advocate for an injured party to receive compensation for his injuries. The attorneys at the Harnitz Law Office, LLC in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, have extensive experience in representing injured individuals in cases against careless corporate entities. Please contact us to schedule a consultation if you have experienced a water park injury or if you have suffered other injuries or losses as a result of another party’s negligence.