Disney World is facing a lawsuit when a water slide at its Typhoon Lagoon Water Park severally injured Emma McGuinness on October 14, 2019 on the Humunga Kowabunga water slide.
Emma McGuinness was at the water park to celebrate her 30th birthday. The ride involves a near-vertical five story drop in the dark. The slide descends 214 feet and plunges riders into a pool of water at the end of the ride. McGuinness alleges that she was in the appropriate position with her ankles crossed “as instructed” but she became airborne at the end of the slide and slammed into the slide which may have caused her legs to become uncrossed. As a result, the water at the bottom of her swimsuit was forced between her legs and water “violently forced inside her.” This “wedgie” is more painful for women than men.
McGuinness allegedly began experiencing severe internal pain and blood rushed from her legs. She was taken to a hospital and then transported to a specialist for gynecologic injuries. McGuinness allegedly suffers “severe and permanent bodily injury.” Her husband also alleges loss of consortium.
Companies can be sued if their products are defective. An individual product can be defective if it deviates from the design. For instance, a car missing an airbag is defective if the blueprints for the car called for an airbag. However, there may be instances where the design itself is flawed. When there is a design defect, a product was made correctly, but the product’s design is such that the product itself is unsafe no matter how well-built it was.
The Humunga Kowabunga was designed as a steep waterslide that drops riders into a pool of water following a dark ride down. The point of the slide is that rider is launched into the air and into a pool. The fact that McGuinness was airborne is part of the ride itself. The water itself was also essential to the ride, as it was a water ride.
The only apparent question is whether the force of the water was appropriate. The water had allegedly been forced into McGuinness, causing her significant injury. If the water pressure was normal when McGuinness used it, the water slide was arguably not defective. However, if there was a deviation in the water pressure, there could be a meritorious claim that there was something wrong with the Humunga Kowabunga that caused an injury to an innocent woman.
Assumption of Risk
Most recreational activities involve a certain degree of risk. Horseback riding, swimming, baseball, and other activities have a potential risk of injury. There is a risk of drowning when one goes swimming, play water polo, or other water based sport. Similarly, there is a risk of injury when riding on any amusement park ride. For instance, Space Mountain is potentially hazardous to those with high blood pressure or have back issues. Humunga Kowabunga is a ride that involves going down a dark slide at high speeds – there is an inherent risk of water pressure, even if that risk is potentially higher for women than men. If Disney cannot remove the risk of
water pressure without altering the ride, then water pressure may simply be an inherent risk of riding on the Humunga Kowabunga.
Do I Need the Help of a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you have sustained a personal injury through the unlawful act of another, you should contact a personal injury attorney. A skilled personal injury lawyer can review the facts of your case, go over your rights and options, and represent you in court.
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