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Amusement Park Accident Liability in Missouri

Posted By Russ Purvis || 25-Sep-2013

Amusement parks can be both fun and exciting. Every year millions of Americans visit parks like Six Flags and Worlds of Fun. Unfortunately, many people are also injured in amusement parks. Whether a person injured in an amusement park can recover his or her damages depends on a variety of factors, including the legal duty of care owed by the amusement park, to the injured individual. Such legal duties are governed by state law and vary widely across the United States.

Recently, the Court of Appeals for the Western District of Missouri in Chavez v. Cedar Fair, LP, WD75373, revisited the issue of the type of legal duty owed to an injured person by an amusement park operator. The decision did not result a decision setting forth one single duty, but instead reiterated that the type of duty owed depends on the specific facts of each case.

The plaintiff in Chavez suffered injuries while riding a raft ride at Oceans of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri. At trial, the jury was instructed by the court when defining the term "negligence", that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of the highest degree of care. The jury found for the plaintiff and the defendant appealed. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court should have instructed the jury that it only owed the plaintiff a duty of ordinary care.

The appellate court ruled that the trial court was correct in instructing the jury to hold the defendant to the highest degree of care standard, because the plaintiff was essentially a passenger on a ride, and the duty that would apply to a common carrier applied to the defendant. However, the court opined that in other Missouri cases, such as one where the plaintiff alleged that a loose board led to injury, the ordinary care standard was still appropriate because the case was essentially a premises liability claim, and ordinary care is the correct standard in such a case under Missouri law.

As is often the case with personal injury cases, the law governing amusement park liability is complex. The Montee Law Firm has been helping those injured by the negligence of businesses, including amusement parks, for decades. If you, or someone you know, have been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact the Montee Law Firm at 800-788-1996, or for a free consultation.

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