Yes, you can sue an amusement park in Georgia if you got hurt from a slip and fall injury, but the park is not liable automatically for every incident that happens on its premises. The facility must have been negligent, and that carelessness must be the thing that caused your injury.
What We Have to Prove to Show That the Amusement Park Was Negligent
There are three elements to negligence, and we have to prove all three to hold the park responsible for your injuries. These factors are:
- The amusement park had a legal duty of care toward you. The reason that you were on the property will determine how careful the facility had to be. For example, the park has to take more steps to protect an invitee or licensee than a trespasser.
- The park breached its duty of care to you. Failing to meet one’s standard of care is negligence.
- The facility’s negligence caused you to suffer measurable harm. The carelessness of the park must be what caused your accident. Also, the park is not liable for a “near miss” or “close call,” even if the park was negligent. You must sustain a physical injury to hold the facility responsible.
What Is Carelessness of the Part of the Amusement Park
Amusement parks are not legally on the hook every time someone gets hurt. If a park visitor gets hurt solely because of his own carelessness, the facility is seldom responsible. For example, if a park guest went into an unauthorized area to take a selfie, lost her footing and fell, the park might not have to pay her any damages.
Negligence by the park, in the context of a slip and fall injury, usually consists of a scenario like this:
- There was a dangerous condition in the amusement park or its approaches (like sidewalks or parking lots). Let’s say that an employee in one of the popcorn booths spilled a container of cooking oil. The oil flowed onto the walking path where patrons walk up to buy popcorn. It was difficult to see the oil while walking on the path, and the oil made the walkway slippery.
- The park knew or should have known about the hazard. The employee who spilled the oil knew about the dangerous condition but did not clean up the mess or call for maintenance to correct the situation. When asked later, the worker said that it was not her job to clean up the grounds and that she was too busy making and selling popcorn to call maintenance.
- The park did not take actions to fix the hazard or post sufficient warnings before someone got hurt. A guest at the amusement park slipped and fell on the oil, breaking her arm. The park could have prevented this injury by cleaning up the oil spill or blocking off the slick area and warning of the danger.
How the Duty of Care Varies for Invitees, Licensees, and Trespassers
Your legal status, for purposes of the landowner’s duty of care toward you, depends on why you came onto the property. By way of further explanation:
Invitee. You are an invitee if the landowner or tenant (the amusement park) invited you onto the property, either expressly or by implication. To be an invitee, your reason for being on the premises must be lawful. For example, if you were a paying visitor at the park, you were an invitee.
Under Georgia law, the facility must use ordinary care to keep the premises and approaches reasonably safe for invitees.
Licensee. A licensee is on the property strictly for his own benefit and not for the owner. For example, you are a licensee if you walked up to the entrance of the park and asked to use the restroom, even though you were not going to buy a ticket to visit the park.
Georgia law forbids owners from intentionally injuring licensees, but the law does not require the park to keep the premises safe for people in this category.
Trespasser. Someone who is on the property illegally is a trespasser. People in this category enter the property without the invitation or consent of the owner. By way of example, if someone cuts through a chain link fence and sneaks into the park to avoid paying an entrance fee, that person is a trespasser.
Georgia law does not allow the park to “booby trap” the premises to harm trespassers or to cause intentional injury by other means. The law does not, however, impose any additional duty of care on landowners concerning trespassers.
Getting Legal Help for a Slip and Fall at an Amusement Park
The rules can seem complicated when you get hurt on someone else’s property. Do not worry. At S. Burke Law, we will explain the law and answer your questions. Just call us at 404-842-7838, and schedule your free consultation. We do not charge legal fees until you win.