Sunday, September 26, 2021

If they are injured or killed, amusement park riders have limited rights in Colorado

Legal experts said that if the parents of a 6-year-old girl sign the waiver required by the park on her behalf, the parents who died while cycling in Glenwood Caverns Amusement Park will find it difficult to hold the park responsible for her death.

Colorado law states that the park and its employees cannot act recklessly, but according to Tom Russell, a professor at the Sturm School of Law at the University of Denver, the person who signed the waiver agreed to “let the company be negligent.”

In Colorado, “parents can be exempt from responsibility for their children,” Russell said, noting that other states such as New Jersey do not allow this. “Colorado allows this to be unethical. It ignores children.”

Russell said that parents may sign a waiver, believing that it is not actually enforceable. They are wrong.

“If drafted properly, exemptions are often enforceable,” Russell said. “If the exemption includes a negligence clause, then it is an exemption from the inherent risks of the activity and business negligence. This is the problem.”

Thousands of people take amusement park attractions every year, from the largest resorts to the smallest carnivals. Almost everyone will sign or passively accept liability waivers by purchasing tickets.

For example, Elitch Gardens’ website lists its terms and conditions on a link away from its ticket purchase page. Above, the guests are told in capital letters that by purchasing tickets, they agree to protect the park from all claims caused by negligence, including negligent death.

Russell said that Colorado’s laws governing negligent death claims also limit any non-economic losses to approximately $571,000.

The need to recover more shows that the company is deliberately reckless, such as knowing that seat belts are not fastened or deferring critical maintenance to a less busy day. Otherwise, the liability exemption will apply and compensate the company.

“If you are going to choose the injured state, Colorado is a bad state,” he said.

A copy of the Glenwood Caverns liability waiver obtained from its website shows that anyone who wants to use any of the 15 different attractions (including Mine Drop) clearly admits that it is dangerous and “involves the risk of personal injury or death” .

If they are injured or killed, amusement park riders have limited rights in Colorado
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