California residents should know that water parks can be dangerous places. Back in 2016, the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, Kansas, was closed down after a 10-year-old boy riding a waterslide was decapitated. That waterslide, called the Verrückt, was 169 feet (approximately 17 stories) tall and was, in fact, the tallest of its kind in the world.
The investigation into the death revealed a dark story. It turns out that a co-owner of the water park and the senior designer of the waterslide fast-tracked the construction of the Verrückt so that they could appear on a reality show about amusement parks. Neither party had a mechanical engineering background. Safety tests involved little more than sending sandbags down the slide to see if they would fly off.
The laxity of state laws may have been partly to blame as well; Kansas law does not require the inspection of water parks. Prior to the park opening, an engineering firm had warned about the danger of rafts going airborne. The park either downplayed or ignored this and numerous other warnings.
The co-owner was indicted for second-degree murder, and together with the waterslide designer, he was indicted for the aggravated endangerment of a child, involuntary manslaughter and other charges. However, the charges were dismissed in February 2019. The Verrückt was demolished.
This is one of the more extreme cases that involve premises liability law. The truth is that anyone injured on another’s property through no fault of his or her own may have a case under premises liability law, provided that the victim was a lawful entrant and engaged in no unsafe conduct. Slips, trips and falls are behind a great many such cases. Whatever the nature of their injuries, though, victims who intend to file a claim may want legal guidance.