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Who's Liable for Waterpark Injuries?

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Waterparks are a great way to cool off during the summer, but they can also leave you with serious injuries.

Slip-and-fall injuries, heat-related illnesses, and even drownings can occur at waterparks. And while it hasn't caused any injuries yet, the world's tallest water slide -- a 168-foot-tall slide set to open at a park in Kansas City (here's video of a test run shared by io9) -- made some of us wonder about potential liability issues (though the net makes us feel a bit more safe).

So if you're hurt at a waterpark, who can potentially be held liable?

The Waterpark's Owners

Just like other theme and amusement parks, waterparks are responsible for operating rides and amusements that won't cause patrons to drown or break bones. Whether a ride is defective or a waterpark's negligence caused a ride to be improperly operated or maintained, the waterpark (i.e., the company that owns and/or operates it) may be held liable for injuries caused by that ride.

Slippery surfaces at waterparks raise the risk of slip-and-fall injuries. And waterparks are also semi-notorious for water-borne pathogens infecting park guests. Contaminated food and water can lead to dangerous bacteria, viruses, and parasites spreading and causing serious injury, especially to young children and the elderly.

A waterpark will likely be held responsible for these injuries if its actions (or inaction) led to these unsafe conditions.

The Waterpark's Employees

Waterparks employ lifeguards, ride operators, and even food vendors, all of whom could potentially cause you to suffer an injury.

For the most part, accidents and injuries caused by a waterpark employee will be the liability of the waterpark -- assuming the employee's screw-up was within his or her scope of work. However, a patron may be unable to sue the park for injuries caused by willful, reckless, or malicious acts of employees that were outside the scope of their employment.

On the other hand, if a waterpark employee intentionally tripped or punched you, for example, you may only be able to sue that particular employee, and not his employer.

You (Yes, You)

Many waterparks may ask patrons to sign a release of liability, preventing you from suing a waterpark and its employees for injuries or even deaths that occur while at the park. These kinds of event or recreation releases aren't always legally bulletproof, but if a court upholds it, you may be the only one legally responsible for your injuries.

Don't slip up on dealing with waterpark injuries. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your options as soon as possible.

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