Last Update: 12/26/16
Florida is known to be a great place to have fun. The residents of Florida are proud and happy to welcome people from around the country and around the world to its hotels and beaches as well as theme parks and amusements like Epcot, Universal Studios, Six Flags, Walt Disney World, and Sea World.
These visitors come here to enjoy their time at a local concert, sporting event, hotel, resort, bar, or theme park and are trying hard to maximize their fun and are not thinking about things like watching out for criminals and wrongdoers. Who wants to dampen their vacation by having to look over their shoulder all the time?
This is a reasonable attitude. However, injuries do occur at these very popular locations which employee a lot of people and generate a lot of revenue for our state. For these reasons, we have negligence laws and negligence security precedent to address injuries that happen at these locations.
The Law (and Public Reputation Concerns) Force Businesses to Work Hard to Protect You From Harm
Legally, it is recognized that businesses who profit from fun and entertainment need to be vigilant in protecting their clientele from getting hurt (or killed). If they don’t, they can face a lawsuit for negligent security (details here) or general negligence (details here) in addition to the public relation consequences of a tarnished reputation and lower profits because of their poor or inadequate security. (Consider the impact on Aruba tourist industry after the Natalie Holloway disappearance.)
Visitors to theme parks; customers in restaurants; audiences at concerts; fans at games; and clientele in resorts, bars, and hotels have a right to feel they are being protected and kept safe. Yes, they have some level of duty to avoid being prey to predators and to avoid injury; however, negligent security law holds these for-profit companies who are making money off fun to a high duty of protection and security for their guests.
Visitors also can expect the law to demand that these establishments make every effort to keep them safe from accidents and injuries sustained in non-criminal incidents. Negligence law creates a duty here to make sure that patrons are protected from harm and injury that is not intentional — such as physical injuries from a malfunctioning park ride or hurt suffered in a fall at a sports arena.
Higher the Risk of Harm, Higher their Duty to Protect and Keep Safe
How much a company, who is making a profit from fun, has to do in order to meet their duty of care depends upon the circumstances. The higher the risk of harm, the more effort a business needs to undertake to protect their customers, visitors, attendees and guests.
In Las Vegas, the reality of criminals preying on casino customers is well-known. This month, for example, 37 high definition (HD) cameras were installed along the Las Vegas Strip by local law enforcement to try and capture images of criminal activity along their “tourist corridor.” Similar crime deterrents exist here in Miami and other parts of South Florida where crime statistics show crime is high. For these areas, the duty to protect customers and clientele is even higher than other parts of the state, because hotels, bars, and other for-profit entities know, or should know, that a higher level of protection is needed in that part of town.
In Dallas, the duty to keep customers safe is being addressed in a prime example of the duty of a theme park to its customers. A wrongful death case has been filed by the grieving loved ones of Rosa Esparza, who fell to her death on July 19, 2013, as she was riding the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas. Police have investigated and ruled out criminal activity in her death, and Six Flags has re-opened the Texas Giant to customers although the roller coaster has been altered to have different bar pads, new seat belts, and other safety modifications.
Fortunately, no roller coaster deaths have happened here in Florida recently; nevertheless, the Texas Giant tragedy does put the local theme parks and amusement parks on notice, reminding them of their own legal duties to make sure all rides are safe and sound – especially their roller coasters — before any park guests are invited to buy a ticket and take a ride.
What Should You Do?
A good piece of advice if you have been hurt at a hotel, theme park, bar, or concert, is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
- What Type Of Legal Duty Does A Florida Property Owner Have For Injuries To Visitors?: Florida Premises Liability’s Invitee, Licensee, Trespasser Distinctions
- Hurt in a South Florida Hotel? Does Florida Law Protect You From Negligence of Hotel Security and Hotel Operations?
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.