American Dream Pool Accident Shows Hidden Hazards at Amusement Parks

New Jersey’s amusement parks and water parks are among the busiest in the nation. A Bureau of Economic Analysis report showed that the Garden State’s attractions brought in $224 million in revenue in 2021, the seventh highest figure in the country. While the vast majority of park patrons have a great time, it’s an unfortunate reality that accidents occur from time to time — sometimes from unexpected causes.

Just such a freak accident occurred in February at the DreamWorks Water Park in the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford. Four people were injured when a decorative helicopter suspended over a pool detached from the ceiling and plunged into the water below. State officials investigated the incident and found that damage to the wire holding the helicopter had caused the wire to weaken and the helicopter to fall.

A spokesperson for the state’s Department of Community Affairs said, “The helicopter-themed feature, along with all other suspended themed features, were inspected during building construction.” The spokesperson added that no law or rule requires inspections of suspended features and hanging objects once a building is complete and approved for occupancy. The building opened in October 2020 and bills itself as the largest indoor waterpark in the U.S., covering 8.5 acres. The other hanging features were evaluated after the accident and deemed to be “structurally sound and safe for continued use.”

This particular incident may have exposed a shortcoming in state inspection laws. But most amusement park and waterpark accidents are caused by more common problems, such as:

  • Missing, damaged or inadequate safety railings or guardrails
  • Slips and falls on surfaces that are wet, broken or uneven
  • Falls from water slides
  • Overcrowded pools or rides
  • Lack of a lifeguard on duty
  • Failing to enforce height and weight restrictions
  • Poorly maintained rides, pools and water slides

A recreational park accident can lead to serious injuries, including fractures, soft tissue damage, concussions and brain and spine injuries. Victims need and deserve compensation. But park owners and operators often claim that injured people were hurt because they failed to comply with safety rules or that language on park admission tickets absolves owners and operators of liability. If you or your child was injured at a New Jersey amusement park or waterpark, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit based on grounds of premises liability, ordinary negligence or other product liability. An experienced personal injury attorney will take the action necessary to get you the monetary compensation you need and deserve.

Seigel Law in Ridgewood, New Jersey represents clients injured in all types of recreational accidents in Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Hudson counties. Please call our office at 201-444-4000 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our experienced injury lawyers.

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