In Anaheim, California, a recently filed lawsuit against an amusement park found that an injury does not have to be particularly severe to warrant legal action. Rather, if an individual gets an injury that causes the person pain and suffering, or is found to be debilitating in any way, then than individual can reasonably file for a lawsuit.
The case in question involves a woman from Palisades Park, who sustained a knee injury while attending Sesame Place, a popular amusement park in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Park patron Hyobin Kin and husband Ho Young Lee filed for lawsuit against the amusement park in June of this year, in U.S. District Court, Pennsylvania.
The accident occurred on July 4, 2012, when Kim attended the park with her 18-month-old son. Kim and her son were in an area of the park known as Splash Castle when she decided to take her son down a waterslide. Since her son was too young to use the slide on his own, she decided to go down with him in her arms.
The waterslide had a cushioned, mattress-like area at the bottom to break the patron’s landing. Though the pad did cushion Kim and her son’s landing, when she attempted to stand the plaintiff slipped and fell, striking her knee on a hard object which anchored to pad down. The fall produced a 4-inch laceration on Kim’s knee, which exposed tissue. The injury required hospitalization, as well as severe pain and permanent scarring. What’s more, the injury produced long-term damage including limited range of motion.
“Plaintiff has in the past been prevented and in the future will be prevented and precluded from attending to her normal duties, occupations and avocations; in addition, she has suffered and will in the future continue to suffer pain, mental anguish, humiliation, loss of sense of worth and well-being, the inability to engage in her normal activities and inability to pursue the normal and ordinary pleasures of life,” the lawsuit states.
Though Kim’s injury was serious, incident’s like hers are not uncommon, and are often even more extreme.The amusement park industry is competitive, which urges parks to include more thrilling and dangerous rides. A knee laceration is not unheard of, as is more serious injuries such as patrons falling out of roller coaster cars, losing limbs, and even dying. Kim’s case proves that, though her injury was not as dire as others that have occurred at amusement parks, it still qualifies for monetary compensation.
Kim’s lawsuit relates to another recent lawsuit against an amusement park, where the guardians for a patron with autism filed for a 57-count lawsuit against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc. after the parks changed their accessibility policies and protocols. The plaintiffs claimed the changes violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Previous to the lawsuit, Disney had honored a policy which allowed disabled individuals immediate access to rides, without waiting in line. The complaint claimed that Disney withdrew the policy, and instead implemented a program called “appointment riding.” The new appointment riding program allows patrons to set an appointed time to use the ride, which still requires waiting in a line, though not as long as the normal line. The plaintiffs claimed that the wait, in an autistic spectrum, even a shorter wait can be emotionally devastating.
According to the lawsuit, the new policy, called the Disability Assistance Seating (DAS) system, is both dangerous and discriminatory towards those with autism. “Either Disney designed the DAS with a goal or ‘benefit’ in mind of substantially reducing the number of autistic and cognitively impaired persons who visit the Disney Parks, or Disney recognized such ‘benefit’ promptly upon release of the DAS and has accepted its adverse impact upon plaintiffs,” the lawsuit said. The plaintiff represents 16 children with autism and is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.