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Injured on a Water Slide

I’m David Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss personal injury law topics.

Today’s question comes from a caller who said she was hurt at a waterpark.

She was using a slide sitting in a tube.

Users slide down the waterslide into a pool at the bottom of the slide, where employees catch them and direct them safely into a wading pool area.

She had gone down slide a couple of times with no problem.

But when she went down the slide the last time no employee was present to catch her. She slammed into a concrete wall fracturing her leg in two places. She wanted to know her legal rights.

Water parks with water slides have been around for quite some time, and they can be fun when operated safely.

How does the law deal with injuries involving these types of amusement rides?

Under the law, anyone who decides to go down a slide at a waterpark is assumed to accept the risk of anticipated dangers.

Assumption of risk applies to most sporting activities. For example, if you voluntarily decide to play baseball, certain risks come with playing baseball. If you get hit with the ball and knock your teeth out, that generally fits into the category of assumed risk.

However, in a situation where a person is not a professional athlete participating in a sport or recreational activity, they can only assume commonly appreciated risks inherent in participation in the activity. So risk awareness has to be assessed against a particular plaintiff’s background, skill, and experience.

In the incident described by the caller, the waterslide was made safe by the presence of helpful employees at the bottom of the slide. These employees were there to grab participants and direct them into a safe area so they would not get hurt.

But the caller said that on the third occasion down the slide, no employee was present to direct her into a safe spot. She was unaware that she would be subjected to utilizing the slide where no one was there to put her in a safe position away from the wall she struck and fractured her leg against.

My guess is that if we question the employees, we would find that someone took a break or something drew the employee’s attention away from their job of safely maneuvering people away from the wall. Under such circumstances, the operator of the waterslide, in my guess, would be held liable by a court and jury.

Why? Because the stationing of employees at the base of the slide was an inherent safety feature for the slide. The caller enjoyed the benefit of these employees on prior occasions going down the slide.

There is no reason for her to think that she would be subjected to a circumstance where these employees providing safety functions would be withdrawn. She had no way to expect that she would have to fend for herself and avoid hitting the concrete wall on her own.

Her case would be bolstered if other slide users similarly relied upon the employees.

One would expect that if you question the owner of the water slide, they would have to admit that they put employees at the slide’s base precisely to provide a safe way for the participants to exit the slide and avoid crashing into a concrete wall.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you are a victim of someone’s carelessness, substandard medical care, product defect, work injury, or another personal injury, please call (219) 736-9700 with your questions. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there, make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth.”