Happy Endings Aren’t Guaranteed at Disneyland
By Susan Schaben
It’s known as the “Happiest Place on Earth,” but a day at Disneyland’s theme park doesn’t always have a happy ending for some unfortunate guests.
It’s no secret that people get injured and in some cases they die due to mishaps and accidents at the Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim California.
While amusement park rides are certainly an obvious way to get hurt at a theme park, the bulk of injury accidents that take place there involve tripping or slipping on objects, tracks, uneven pavement, spilled liquids or slippery surfaces.
Anyone who has visited Disneyland knows they are going to do a lot of walking, climbing stairways and navigating around the park.
Author David Koenig, in his recently released book entitled “The People v. Disneyland,” provides details about incidents that have taken place behind the gates of the most popular theme park in the world over the past 60 years. He points out that some of the accidents taking place there have led to changes in the way Disney operates its theme parks and overall it’s made it a much cleaner and safer place.
Since three days after its opening on July 17, 1955, when a little girl’s parents filed a lawsuit after she slammed her face into a metal steering wheel while riding a car at the Autopia attraction, Disney lawyers have fended off hundreds of lawsuits from injured guests. The book points out that trip or slip and fall accidents are the source of most lawsuits against the Anaheim theme park and counts more than 500 lawsuits of this type on the books.
People have sued Disney for everything from slipping on orange peelings and vomit to tripping on uneven cobblestone, curbs and trolley tracks. The injuries run the gamut from broken bones and head injuries to sprained ankles and neck and back pain. More recently in 2023, a security dog at the theme park attacked an elderly man and severely injured him when it bit his stomach.
Koenig points out that most often these claims are unsuccessful, because Disney has strict cleaning regimes, they coat walkways and other surfaces with abrasive coatings to prevent slipping, they have staff members with flashlights to guide guests when lights are dim. Once they know about a hazard, they are known to quickly modify it or remove the problem to avoid injuries.
Disney lawyers don’t always get the happy ending they are after. Guests who successfully sue the theme park, however, have to prove wrongdoing on the part of Disney and that can be difficult given their zealous cleaning and maintenance records.
There are a few examples in Koenig’s book of successful lawsuits and settlements involving slip and fall accidents won against Disney. One court case Disney lost involved a man who was carrying his toddler son and broke his leg when he fell down the steps while climbing Tarzan’s Treehouse. His attorney investigated and found the steps had eroded and a rope handrail was not effective to stop the fall. In another case, a 5-year-old boy fractured his skull when he ran into crowd control ropes during the Electrical Parade. His case was settled out of court. Disney also lost to an older man who slipped on a pool of vomit in the bathroom and suffered a neck and head injury.
Under premise liability laws, Disneyland is required to maintain its facility to be free from dangerous hazards and thus if someone is injured on their property, they may have a claim to compensate them for their losses. The injured person will have to prove that the dangerous condition existed and that Disney did not take reasonable steps to fix the problem. Disney may also be on the hook for damages if one of its employees created the unsafe condition. These are some of the toughest cases to win against Disneyland, but it’s certainly not impossible.
SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENTS
Disneyland and California Adventure attract millions of visitors to its popular theme park every year and as a result there are many different types of injuries that take place there. Keep in mind that when someone is hurt at a theme park, it’s not always the fault of the business owner and the injured person could be responsible. So how do you know if you have a potential claim?
The circumstances of any given accident are unique based on the facts of a particular case. The best way to find out if you have a claim is to call an experienced attorney who handles these types of cases. As a rule of thumb, however, you are likely to have a case if you have a significant injury, you hurt yourself at Disneyland, the injury was reported at the time of the accident and it is determined that the theme park was at fault for your injuries.
Basic Steps to Take After Slip and Fall Accidents
There are steps that should be taken immediately after you are hurt in a slip and fall accident. First, you will want to alert an employee or management at the park and file a report about what happened. Make sure you get their full name or employee identification number, note the time of the incident and location. If you have a camera, take a photograph of the area, the object you slipped or tripped on and your injuries at the park. If something malfunctioned and caused your fall, see if there were witnesses and get their contact information at the scene. Next, get immediate medical attention for your injuries and followup care as necessary. Finally, contact a personal injury attorney before you speak with the insurance company.
Hurt at Disneyland? Get Help By Calling 1-(855) 703-4186
Johnson Attorneys Group provides legal services to people who have been hurt in a slip and fall accident and we will ensure if you hire us that we will do everything possible to get you the maximum settlement available to cover medical costs, lost wages as well as pain and suffering. Disneyland and other amusement parks are required to take every precaution to provide a safe premises to guests and visitors to their facilities. So it’s our obligation as your attorney to not only work to get you compensation, but to ensure what happened to you will not happen to others.
If you are hurt in an accident that takes place at a California theme park, you need a California-licensed attorney to handle your claim no matter whether you live in the United States or another country. Please do not hesitate to call us and speak with our qualified personal injury attorney about your potential case. There is no charge for initial consultations and our services are conducted on a contingency fee basis so there is no attorney fees if there is no settlement or verdict. Call for a free consultation at 1-(855) 703-4186.
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