A tragic water park accident that recently took the life of an Illinois man highlights the dangers posed by summer attractions such as water slides, wave pools, and amusement parks. The 21-year old drowning victim was enjoying a popular water park ride when he suffered a fatal water park injury. Our premise liability lawyers are warning families of the risk involved in many fun summer activities, which can ultimately lead to serious injuries and even death.
The Gainesville Times is reporting the story of Sergio Edwards from Dolton, Illinois, the latest accidental drowning victim whose life was cut short on July 5, 2011, at the Lake Lanier Islands Resort. The man went down the park’s Fun Dunker waterslide and never resurfaced. Unfortunately, lifeguards on duty at the time failed to notice him lying unresponsive at the base of the slide. Anywhere from one to several minutes passed before another park guest notified lifeguards of the man’s disappearance. Given the time-sensitive nature of a drowning accident, it was too late for anything to be done. A rescue team eventually found the victim and administered CPR, but it was ineffective and he died early the next morning in the hospital.
This water slide death reflects the nature of the risk that seemingly innocent waterpark rides like the Fun Dunker present. The ride has an enclosed tube that empties the rider into a funnel-shaped swirling bowl, then into a deep pool of water. Investigators believe that the accidental drowning victim hit his head while going down the slide and became unconscious.
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Drowning accidents, head trauma, traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, and internal organ injuries can all result as a result of negligence at a waterpark. Injured victims and their families may be able to take legal action though a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, but liability depends on the particular circumstances of the accident and a lawsuit should be filed quickly in order to preserve witnesses and evidence.
Experienced slip and fall attorneys can help determine who is liable in a water park accident. Waterpark operators, manufacturers, and owners are legally responsible for ensuring the safety of park visitors and minimizing the risk of danger. According to safety standards set by the American National Standards Institute, rides must be properly designed, constructed and maintained. If a faulty piece of equipment leads a rider to travel too fast or hit their head on a dangerous surface, park operators, owners, and manufacturers may all face liability. Additionally, when lifeguards are distracted or improperly trained, the park owners may be held accountable.
Other precautions need to be taken in order to avoid accidents, such as risk warnings and protective barriers that keep small children away from dangerous park areas. When an a water park accident occurs, victims and their families can receive compensation for their pain and suffering, medical costs, lost wages, and funeral expenses.
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Water park officials may attempt to avoid liability by writing waivers of liability in small print on park ticket stubs, but courts often find that these agreements invalid and hold park and their employees responsible for any injuries that result from their negligence. We believe that water and amusement parks should be a fun, relaxing experience for families, and park owners and operators need to be responsible for any park injuries or wrongful deaths they cause.