A Virginia man was struck in the head by an advertising balloon at Walt Disney World in 2006. The 10-foot balloon came loose from its tether and hit the man as he was walking through a tradeshow area at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The man, who sustained permanent brain injury and still suffers from headaches, filed a lawsuit against Disney in 2010 seeking $15,000 in damages.
The original lawsuit was dismissed because the injured park visitor had signed a legal waiver after his injury, but before participating in a paintball tournament. As is true for many brain injuries, the man’s injuries were not yet apparent when he signed the waiver.
On appeal, the court noted that the waiver clearly put the focus on the paintball tournament, not the tradeshow area. The release, which the man signed after he was injured, did not specifically say he was releasing things that happened before he signed it.
The suit can go forward, and the injured man will have his day in court. Disney, not surprisingly, maintains the case is without merit and will respond to the allegations in court.
“Disney cases are hard to try,” notes Virginia injury lawyer Doug Landau. “Disney surrounds injured victims with their employees and characters, putting tourists at a disadvantage when trying to obtain witness names, numbers, photos, etc.”
We will be following this case to learn of its outcome.
If you or someone you know has been injured while a visitor at an amusement park, sports venue, or other recreational venue, and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).