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Wrongful death, criminal charges in tragic waterpark accident


Pennsylvania is home to many waterparks, large and small, indoors and outdoors. They must compete with other parks in the state, and the largest ones must compete on a nationwide basis. In the drive to attract more customers and remain competitive in the marketplace, waterparks design and build taller, longer and faster slides. Sometimes in the fervor to be the first, the tallest or the fastest, designers and parks cut corners and ignore the potential dangers their designs pose to the customers they're trying to attract.


This was tragically underscored in Kansas last year when the owners of a waterpark disregarded reports of injuries on a particularly extreme slide - the tallest in the world - they'd had designed. Leaving the slide open ultimately resulted in the wrongful death of 10-year-old boy. One of the park's owners and the slide's designer are facing criminal charges as well as civil exposure in the case.

Civil attorneys will likely rely on a strict, or products, liability theory when attacking the design and continued use of the slide. Using such an approach, an attorney must demonstrate that a product - in this case, the slide - was unreasonably dangerous when used in its intended manner for its intended purpose. Then they must show that such use of the slide resulted in injury, or in this devastating case, death.

There will not be a high bar of proof in this high-profile of case, and the waterpark's insurance companies are likely to settle quickly, if they haven't already. Unfortunately, not all families who suffer such tragedies receive such swift justice. Nothing can restore things to the way they were. But the help of experienced attorneys, such as those at The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller, can help the loved ones of wrongful death victims seek justice and compensation toward the end of achieving closure.

Source: PA Home Page, "3 people face charges in death of Kansas boy, 10," John Hanna, March 28, 2018

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