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Waterparks Can be the Scene of Sun, Fun, and Negligence

Jeffrey R. Davis

Water on a hot summer day can provide relief. Fun and excitement are added to the mix when it’s in a waterpark. What’s not to like? A poorly run waterpark can leave a customer severely injured. If an accident is severe enough, death may result. 

Depending on where you go and what you are doing, the risk of a severe injury is small, but it is real, as you can see from lawsuits filed against various waterparks:  

  • The parents of a child who drowned at Kansas City’s Oceans of Fun last July filed a wrongful death suit, according to the Kansas City Star. They claim waterpark management knowingly maintained a dangerous environment that killed 6-year-old Adeline Stewart. She was pulled out of an unsafe and poorly designed pool. She was then taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where she died. Her family’s lawyers claim that lifeguards overlooked her for several minutes even as some park attendees made “frantic attempts” to get their attention. Lifeguards were allegedly not equipped to give her first aid because the park hires inexperienced lifeguards and fails to train them properly  
  • At least 115 people were injured at Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay waterpark from 2017 to 2020, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The Punga Racers water slide injuries include scrapes, nosebleeds, a concussion, and whiplash. One injury was to James Bowen of Wappinger Falls, New York, who broke his neck on the slide in 2019, leaving him paralyzed. The Sentinel reports he went down the slide on a mat head first. The force of hitting the pool at the bottom of the slide snapped his head back, breaking his neck  
  • The family of a 10-year-old boy killed at a Kansas City waterpark in 2016 settled legal claims for nearly $20 million a year later, reports CBS News. The now-closed Schlitterbahn featured the world’s tallest waterslide, the Verruckt (German for “crazy”), which was 17 stories tall. Riders reached up to 70 mph speeds, then surged up a hump, then down a 50-foot descent to a finishing pool. Caleb Schwab was decapitated during the ride, and two women in the raft with him were seriously injured. Not only was speed an issue, but Velcro straps that supposedly were to keep people in the rafts were ineffective. Manslaughter and aggravated child endangerment charges against a park co-owner and co-designer of the slide, another co-designer, and the company that built the slide were dismissed 

As enjoyable as waterparks can be, you must weigh their dangers when visiting one. If you go with a child, keep track of them because lifeguards may not. If you feel uncomfortable about a ride, don’t go on it.  

Injured at a Waterpark? Jeff Davis Can Help  

Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A., is a Miami personal injury law firm representing victims seeking the compensation they deserve, including those injured at carnivals, amusement parks, and waterparks.  

Call us at (305) 577-3777 or complete our  online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We’ll talk about what happened, how Florida law may apply, and what you should do moving forward. 

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