Disney Sued After Parkgoer Suffers "Severe and Permanent" Injuries on Ride
The plaintiff and her husband are seeking $50,000 in damages.
Disney parks are a place we go to experience the magic, whether with our kids or not. Between themed foods, character meet and greets, and balmy temperatures in Orlando and Anaheim, both Disney World and Disneyland are beloved vacation destinations. But not everyone who goes to Disney experiences a perfect getaway, as one parkgoer recently learned the hard way after sustaining "severe and permanent" injuries on a ride at Disney World. Read on to find out why a couple filed a lawsuit seeking $50,000 in damages.
A woman was injured after going down a high-speed Disney water slide.
Emma and Edward McGuinness sued Walt Disney Parks and Resorts due to an incident that took place on Oct. 14, 2019, while the family was there celebrating Emma's 30th birthday, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by Law&Crime.
Emma sustained injuries after riding down the Humunga Kowabunga water slide—a "speed slide" located at Typhoon Lagoon water park at Disney World—which is almost five stories tall and has a 214-foot drop, the lawsuit states.
While going down the slide, riders do not use a raft or tube and can reach a speed of almost 40 miles per hour. At the bottom, there is a pool of water intended to "rapidly stop" riders when they exit the slide.
She suffered an "injurious 'wedgie,'" the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit says that the pool of water is what led to Emma getting hurt and suffering an "injurious 'wedgie.'" While going down the slide in a one-piece bathing suit, Emma reportedly "slammed downward against The Slide" and became airborne. As a result, when she reached the pool at the bottom, her clothing was "painfully forced between her legs" while water was "violently forced inside her."
"She experienced immediate and severe pain internally and, as she stood up, blood began rushing from between her legs," the lawsuit reads. "She was transported to a local hospital by ambulance for medical care and treatment and eventually transported to another hospital for the repair of her gynecologic injuries by a specialist."
The suit adds that Emma "suffered severe and permanent bodily injuries," including an internal laceration and damage to her internal organs. In addition, the suit cites "pain and suffering, scarring, mental anguish, loss of the capacity of enjoyment of life, expense of hospitalization and medical care, and loss of earnings; all of which injuries are either permanent or continuing in nature."
Edward's portion of the suit alleges that he also "suffered loss of his wife's care, comfort, consortium, support and services."
The plaintiffs are suing Disney for negligence.
The lawsuit notes that riders are instructed to cross their ankles when on the slide, but they're "not told why their ankles need to be crossed, the importance of doing so, or the risks of injury if one's ankles become uncrossed." While Emma went down the slide in the correct position, the suit alleges when she hit the side of the slide it "increased the likelihood of her legs becoming uncrossed or otherwise exposing herself to injury."
The suit goes on to call Disney "negligent" for failing to inform Emma of the "specific risks" associated with going down the slide. It also claims that riders should be provided with protective clothing, and women specifically should be informed of the increased dangers due to their "particular anatomy" and the type of swimsuits they typically wear, which make them more susceptible to this kind of injury than men.
The McGuinness family is seeking $50,000 in damages. Best Life reached out to Disney for comment, and will update the story when we receive a response.
An expert says these events and injuries are rare.
Speaking with The Washington Post, Thomas J. Griffiths, expert on water safety and drowning prevention, and owner of the Aquatic Safety Research Group, said that injuries can happen any time "you're plunging at a high rate of speed into the water."
However, he told the outlet that while he has been an expert witness for cases where injuries similar to Emma's were sustained, these situations aren't very common. In fact, dangerous and fatal accidents on well-designed water slides are "rare."
"Waterslides, even speed slides, tend to be extremely safe," Griffiths said. These attractions generally have attendants or lifeguards at the top and bottom. "Rarely do you hear of someone getting injured … on waterslides."
At the same time, accidents do happen. "It's a high-speed slide," Griffiths added. "It's inevitable that some accidents can occur."