A tourist from the United Kingdom was hospitalized Thursday morning following an accident on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
The tips of the man’s ring finger and his pinky finger on his right hand were severed, according to the Reedy Creek Fire Department.
The man was apparently holding on to the outside of the boat during the ride. It’s unclear what hit the man’s hand and caused the injury.
According to a Disney spokeswoman, the ride was briefly closed and has since been reopened.
A verbal safety message sounds each time the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is launched that warns guests to keep hands and feet inside the ride at all times. It’s not yet clear if the message is pre recorded or if a Disney employee is responsible for warning riders.
There are also signs posted in the area where guests wait to board the ride that say, “For your safety remain seated with hand, arms, feet and legs inside vehicle. Supervise children.”
Disney, along with other area theme parks voluntarily report “significant injuries” suffered on their attractions per an agreement with the state that exempts them from public ride-safety regulation.
In order to be classified as a significant injury, a guest must have been hurt on a ride and the injury must require an immediate hospital stay of more than 24 hours for more than just observation.
In its most recent report, Disney reported five guest injuries in the last quarter of 2013.
The Magic Kingdom logged three of these injuries: a 75-year-old woman who fell and broke her wrist while exiting the Mad Tea Party, a 48-year-old man who became ill after riding Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and a 35-year-old man with a pre-existing condition who experienced heart pain before and after riding The Haunted Mansion.
Additionally, a 29-year-old woman fell ill and suffered disorientation and slurred speech after riding Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and a 68-year-old man broke his toe on the outer wall of Castaway Creek in the Typhoon Lagoon water park.
The last time someone was hospitalized after riding the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was in 2012. Reports indicate that a 71-year-old woman experienced dizziness, chest pain and mouth numbness.
Operators of amusement park rides have a duty to riders and guests to warn them about staying safe on rides. At this time it is unclear whether the injured tourist heard or disregarded the audio or failed to read warning signs on the Disney ride. However, if he plans to file a claim against the park, because of these warnings, he could actually be found negligent.
Based on Florida’s laws on comparative fault, if someone sues for damages and is found negligent, each party involved can be held liable for the portion of damage related to their fault. Meaning, if a lawsuit is filed and Disney was found to be only 10 percent at fault for the man’s injuries, then Disney would only be legally required to cover 10 percent of the damages.
Disneyland, Disney World’s California cousin, has actually been sued more than 100 times for injuries from 2007 to 2012. Most of these cases were settled out of court. It is not clear at this point whether this man will attempt to seek damages for his severed fingertip, however, Disney will likely add this incident to their “significant injuries” report for the year.
If you or someone you love has been injured at any Florida amusement park, a Florida Amusement Park Injury Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help. For a free consultation, please call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online.