A new theme park has come to the Sunshine State and, like the others already attracting millions of visitors to Florida each year, its rides will not be inspected by state security officials.
Earlier this month, the state announced that Legoland, the 50-ride lego-themed family park that opened in Winter Park in mid-October, will not be inspected because it falls under an exemption to Florida ride safety rules that, according to the Orlando Sentinel, was initially enacted for mega-theme parks like Disney World. Specifically, theme parks with 1,000 or more employees are exempted from Florida laws that require a permit and state inspections in order to operate rides, including at fairs and carnivals.
As of late September, Legoland had 994 employees under contract and six more expected to be brought on before the grand opening. If the number dips below 1,000, the permitting and inspection regulations kick in.
Florida is home to eight of the biggest theme parks in the U.S. The Sentinel’s Jason Garcia and Sara K. Clarke report that “[t]he move makes Legoland parent company Merlin Entertainments Group the fourth park owner in Florida to operate free of state ride-safety regulation. The others are the Walt Disney Co.; NBC Universal, which owns Universal Orlando and Wet ‘n Wild; and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, which owns SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.”
Despite the exemption, these parks must follow certain guidelines aimed at avoiding personal injuries. For example, they are required to employ full-time, in-house safety inspectors and annually certify to the state that each of their rides has been inspected. They also have to report injuries that occur on their rides to the state. However, as the Sentinel points out, the parks must report only those injuries that result in an immediate hospital stay of more than 24 hours.
SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens, which bring in a combined 10 million visitors each year, have not reported a single injury since 2008. Disney World, on the other hand, has reported 87 injuries over the same period.
Legoland told the Sentinel that it has 28 people in its rides division whose duties include inspections.
The legal term “negligence” is the most common theory of recovery for those injured in any type of accident, including those occurring at theme parks as well as car, motorcycle and plane accidents and incidents of medical malpractice. In order for a plaintiff to successfully assert that a defendant was negligent, he or she must show that: 1) the defendant owed the plaintiff a “duty of care”; 2) the defendant breached the “duty of care”; 3) the plaintiff was injured; and 4) the breach caused the plaintiff’s injury.
If you were injured in an accident due to another person’s negligent behavior, call the Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Anidjar & Levine for a free consultation. Our lawyers can speak with you about whether you might be entitled to compensation for your injury. You can reach our Florida offices at 800-747-3733 or submit an on-line form to contact us today.
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