Summer is officially here, and soon, families will be heading to water parks where they can escape the heat, enjoy the water, and cool down for a few hours. Others with a taste for adventure may seek the excitement of a rollercoaster or a waterslide during their visit. These trips are usually filled with fond memories and amusement parks often do take the necessary precautions to adequately protect guests’ safety. However, when a preventable injury occurs, these parks can often be held accountable through a Washington, D.C. premises liability lawsuit. In addition, a recent case illustrates that amusement parks may also be liable for guest’s injuries under a product liability theory.
According to the recent opinion, a man brought a product liability claim against a water park after he was injured while going down a waterslide. The plaintiff had slipped from a sitting position on an inner tube and landed on his stomach. When the plaintiff splashed into the pool below, he hit his feet on the bottom of the pool, leaving him with a fractured pelvis and hip. Even though the plaintiff had ample evidence of his injury and the water park’s role in causing it, the trial court ruled against him in his product liability claim.
In front of the appellate court, the defense argued that their water park provided its guests with a service, and not a product, and thus the plaintiff’s product liability claim must fail. Because product liability claims can only apply to products and not services, the defense argued that patrons visit the water park to obtain a service involving the use of waterslides, rather than paying a fee to primarily use waterslides as a product.
However, the appellate court disagreed with the defense’s argument, reversing the trial court’s decision. In rejecting the water park’s arguments, the court sided with the plaintiff and categorized the use of waterslides as a product rather than a service. Because the waterpark makes its slides available as a product for direct use for visitors, and guests are entirely dependent on the facility and its staff to inspect and maintain the waterslide’s safety, the park had an increased responsibility to its guests. As a result, the appellate court held that applying a theory of product liability was in line with the purpose of protecting people from potentially defective products on the market.
In Washington, D.C., product liability is an umbrella term for cases that arise where there is negligence either in the manufacturing or the structural design of a product. For product liability suits, Washington, D.C. courts allow individuals to bring claims after establishing what kind of defect caused the injury at hand. The law has three main categories of defects: (1) design defects, meaning a faulty design caused the product to be defective or dangerous, (2) manufacturing defects, where the injury occurred because of a mistake or negligence when the product was made, and (3) marketing defects, where providers or sellers of the product can be held liable if they fail to warn consumers of potential harms or misrepresent the item. Because of the complexity of product liability cases, injury victims should consider working with an experienced Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer who understands how to navigate these issues.
Contact a Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you care about has been injured while using a dangerous or defective product in Washington, D.C., contact Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers. Our compassionate and experienced Washington, D.C. product liability attorneys are proud to advocate for accident victims throughout the Washington, D.C. area, including in Maryland and Virginia. Our team of legal advocates can assist you in pursuing the monetary compensation you deserve, and will tirelessly fight to hold the parties who caused your harm or loss responsible. To set up a free consultation, call us toll-free at 800-654-1949 or contact us online.