Published on:

Water parks and cruise lines see dollar signs, not people. How these industries leave patrons vulnerable to injury

A woman sues SeaWorld after being injured at its Aquatica water park on a slide last year when another patron “violently colliding” with her.

The woman was visiting SeaWorld’s Aquatica in Orlando when she said she went on a slide that had no lifeguard stationed outside of it to monitor when patrons had safely gone down the slide and give permission for the next person to go. Before the woman got off her water slide, another adult guest got on and “violently colliding” with her, causing her permanent injury, her attorneys said in the lawsuit. 

This story is, unfortunately, not unique. A 7-year-old at Jungle Island in Miami visiting the park with his summer camp was luckily saved by a lifeguard who saw the child, not wearing a life vest, struggling in the water. The lifeguard performed CPR on the child who had to be taken to the hospital where he went into cardiac arrest but, thankfully, came out of the ordeal safely, according to previous reporting of the incident. 

In reporting from the Associated Press, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is cited saying over 4,200 people are taken to the emergency room annually for water park injuries. These injuries range in severity from cuts and scrapes to concussions, broken limbs, and spinal injuries. These numbers do not include incidents of lifeguard intervention not requiring transportation to a hospital. The data also showed that there are at least 1,300 water parks in the United States attracting approximately 85 million patrons a year. 

As the summer continues, temperatures rise and parents with kids out of school need to get creative. Water parks featuring twisting slides seem an obvious option, however, just like with the cruise ship industry, there is the potential for injury when these companies do not ensure safe conditions that fall within the operating regulations set forth for them.

Leesfield & Partners

In its 47-year history, Leesfield & Partners has seen just about every injury one can imagine from slips and falls to motor vehicle accidents, negligent security, cruise ship injuries and everything in between. When it comes to the cruise industry, attorneys at the firm have previously said there are several reasons why there is such a propensity for injury aboard these “floating cities.” 

Much like water parks which have become increasingly more daring with their exhilarating and thrill-seeking slides, cruise ships also compete to have more on-board activities for their passengers. These activities are not limited to slides and include adventurous simulations such as wave runners, shore excursions and even go-kart tracks. 

One such case handled by Leesfield & Partners involved a young man killed in a bus crash meant to take cruise passengers to an excursion in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. An investigation revealed that the bus was not properly maintained and was being operated by a driver with a litany of driving violations. The day of the crash, the bus hurtled from a steep and twisting road, launching the young man through the windshield and eventually landing on his leg. The young man died from his injuries at a hospital. 

Another case handled by Leesfield & Partners involving a shore excursion that resulted in the avoidable death of a passenger is that of a mother who went parasailing on vacation with her daughter. The two purchased the parasailing experience directly from their cruise ship. Once they were up in the air, a rope snapped due to heavy winds and dangerous weather. The two fell rapidly fell from the sky, resulting in traumatic injuries to the daughter and killing the mother.  

The law firm secured a $7.25 million settlement for the family in that case. 

Not only are cruise ships trying to outdo one another to attract the most passengers possible, but, when tragedy does strike, they routinely try to avoid liability by placing the blame on someone else. In the case of shore excursions, cruise lines will place the blame on the touring company they recommended rather than taking the time to actually vet the company and ensure it is up to safety standards to begin with. Often times, these excursions can be booked and paid for directly from the cruise lines’ website. Not only are they endorsing these excursions to their customers, but they are taking a cut from the profits. This very fact is precisely what hinders cruise lines from escaping the blame when unthinkable and devastating injuries take place during these excursions. 

Contact Information