Amusement Park InjuryPosted on:8/21/2012
|In recent years, product liability litigation has been extended into many areas, including recreational equipment such as pool tables, trampolines, amusement rides, and attractions. |
In recent years, product liability litigation has been extended into many areas, including recreational equipment such as pool tables, trampolines, amusement rides, and attractions. Cases have arisen involving injuries on amusement park rides, such as water slides and roller coasters, where the amusement park and/or manufacturer were sued under a product liability theory. In some cases, a higher standard of care is imposed on amusement park operators, as well as manufacturer-designers of amusement park rides, because of the risk created to thousands of passengers, many of them children, for monetary gain (this is similar to the higher standard of care imposed on a common carrier, who is required to exercise great care to protect passengers).
Under product liability, there are four types of liability standards: contractual or warranty standards, that involve a product that fails to meet the promised standard; negligence standards, that compare the defendant’s conduct against the benefits of the conduct; strict liability standards, that does not judge the conduct of the defendant but instead assess the product; and absolute liability standards, that are based on proof of damage caused by the product. Although any of these standards might be the basis for litigation in a case involving an amusement park accident, negligence standards, in particular, merit careful consideration.
Negligence has been defined as conduct that involves significant risk of causing damage and, alternatively, as conduct that “falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonably great harm”. To make out a cause of action in negligence, the plaintiff does not need to establish that the defendant either intended harm or acted recklessly.
Negligence focuses on the conduct of the various participants who are responsible for the product's creation and entry into the marketplace. The judge balances the risks and benefits of the defendant's conduct; risks include those that the defendant knew of, or ought to have known of, at that time. Risks that become known at a later date are irrelevant unless they could have been discovered by the defendant via testing or research that he or she could be expected to have undertaken.