Injured or Assaulted at Santa’s Enchanted Forest [Who’s Liable?]

The holiday season has arrived here in South Florida, and with it comes the opening of one of the region’s most popular attractions – Santa’s Enchanted Forest. Billed as “The World’s Largest Holiday Theme Park and FREE Carnival,” Santa’s Enchanted Forest is open October 31, 2019 to January 5, 2020 this year.

Located in Miami at Tropical Park at 7900 SW 40th Street, the park is open daily including holidays from 5 p.m. to midnight and features more than 100 rides, shows, games and attractions.  Families and friends flock to Santa’s Enchanted Forest annually to experience the park’s thrills and get into the holiday spirit.

What Happens If You’re Injured on Rides or Attractions at Santa’s Enchanted Forest?

As at any holiday theme park, the goal is to entice visitors to have a fun and enjoyable experience while making memories with their family and friends. Santa’s Enchanted Forest is no different, offering up everything from kiddie rides – Buzzing Bees, Rock and Roll Fun House, Puppy Roll, and more – for the littlest family members to thrill rides – Bungee Jumping, Rollercoasters, Extreme Ejection Seat, and more – for the adrenaline junkies in your family. The question is what happens if or when someone gets hurts as they enjoy the rides and attractions at Santa’s Enchanted Forest.

In Florida, as in all states and localities, there are rules regarding the safety of guests a theme parks, carnivals, and fairs. These rules and regulations set the bar which must be followed for these venues to operate legally and keep their visitors safe. Though you don’t often see waivers for potential injuries at theme parks and the like, when you pay admission and enter the park, you are agreeing to the park’s rules and terms whether or not a warning is provided.

Acceptance by entering the park and enjoying the rides, attractions, and shows often means you have essentially consented to limit your ability to sue the park owners should you or a loved one be injured onsite. If an injury occurs in a park like Santa’s Enchanted Forest, the question of negligence on the part of the owners comes into question, which makes if crucial to document the events up to and surrounding your injury.

In some cases, interactive attractions mean park employees may touch you if you participate, but should an actor/employee injures you as a result or touches you inappropriately, the park could be liable for the injury or assault.

In most areas, rides, shows, games, and attractions means venues inside and outside, which requires theme parks to have the appropriate permits to operate the attraction, whatever form it takes. If housed in a building, an attraction must meet the locality’s building requirements. Outdoor attractions also must have the proper permitting. Venues must have fire extinguishers and a clearly marked exit, as well as meeting fire codes for occupancy.

Common Injuries at Theme Parks

Injuries among theme park visitors occur year round and holiday theme park venues are no exception to injuries. In 2017, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported nearly 43,405 people were injured by attractions in theme parks and carnivals. Children aged 0 to 14 were among the most injured with an injury total of more than 26,000 with the highest number of injuries in the 5-14 range. For those over the age of 15, injuries numbered more than 17,000. These injuries are the result of a variety of causes and the most common are included here,

Slip, Trip, and Fall Slip, Trip, and Fall injuries are the most common among those at amusement parks, carnivals, and fairs. They often occur as a result of poor lighting (especially at holiday events which are nearly always at night) or tripping hazards (entrances, exits, cords, furniture, props, decorations). Often rides, attractions, fun houses can disorient guests through the use of motion, fog machines, flashing lights, and more. Walkways, entrances, and exits are often slippery, uneven, and narrow, with many visitors attempting to make their way around the park, on and off rides, and in and out of attractions. Fun houses and other attractions may feature mechanical features like automatic doors, wobbly floors, and crazy mirrors which contribute to the possibility of slip, trip, and fall injuries. Slip, trip, and fall accidents can result in a variety of injuries including simple sprains to broken bones to traumatic brain injuries.

Employee Error As mentioned interactive rides, games, shows, and attractions are intended for fun and entertainment, but what happens when an employee or actor goes too far or makes an error in judgment and injures a guest of the park? There’s always risk that seasonal employees at carnivals and parks are reckless, distracted, or simply don’t take their job seriously, and as a result may negligently injure their guests or act inappropriately resulting in what could be termed assault.

Damaged Equipment/Props or Maintenance Failure Damaged equipment and props, such as malfunctioning animatronics or worn out equipment, could fail and hit a guest, resulting in serious injuries. Props and Equipment used in shows can also cause injury if they fly into the audience as a result of malfunction or actor error. Other common faults include maintenance failures of rides, attractions, and games, particularly safety gear failure.

Carbon monoxide, used in fog machines in and around a theme park can also result in injuries, often in fun houses and other indoor attractions. If ventilation fails to perform properly, carbon monoxide poisoning can occur. Fog machines which run continually can also leave slippery spots and result in slip and fall injuries.

If You or a Family Member is Injured at Santa’s Enchanted Forest, is the Theme Park and its Owner Liable?

Owners of theme parks, carnivals, and fairs want to beat their competitors and they do so with more rides and attractions which thrill guests, providing excitement and fun along with a big dose of the holiday spirit.  The result is they make money in the process and most of the time their guests are treated to fun, entertainment, and sweet memories. That is until someone is injured due to negligence on the part of the park and its owner. As previously stated, you go to your favorite theme park willingly and you know what’s coming – but by entering you do legally assume the risk.

Even so, if you are injured in at a theme park, you may have a case. The owners of the theme park must provide safe rides and attractions, which means you should seek compensation if you are injured due to negligence. Liability law always holds property owners responsible for the proper maintenance of their rides, attractions, games, and shows for the safety of their guests. If you have been injured at theme park like Santa’s Enchanted Forest, reach out to Attorney Brandon Stein and the professional legal team at Stein Law for a free consultation at 877-STEINLAW.

Brandon Stein

Chief Executive Officer

Brandon Stein, the owner and founder of SteinLaw, is a Florida-based trial attorney who focuses on personal injury cases such as wrongful death, car accident, slip and fall, and a variety of other civil litigation areas. Being a former associate at a prominent Florida Defense Law Firm, Brandon Stein understands the strategy and tactics...[READ BIO]