A Virginia man who suffered a brain injury when an advertising balloon hit him in the head at Walt Disney World recently won a legal victory with the international tourism and entertainment giant.
A Florida judge originally dismissed the suit against Disney because of the legal waiver the man signed after he was hurt. However, an appeals Court reversed that ruling, stating that the Disney waiver should not prevent the man’s suit.
Now the injured man can go back to court and proceed with his brain injury lawsuit against Disney.
The man filed suit in 2010 when a Disney vendor’s promotional balloon (Crossfire Inc.) came loose and struck him in the head at a paintball trade show event. He was treated at a local hospital, but he did manage to compete in the company’s paintball tournament. His attorney claims that his client suffered permanent brain damage that was not obvious at first.
The man claims that he still is suffering from headaches and other signs of brain trauma. He signed the waiver before he played paintball, but after he was hit by the balloon.
Many sport and entertainment venues have participants sign legal waivers absolving the organization from any liability for personal injuries suffered at the site.
However, the 5th District Court of Appeal in Florida stated in its ruling that these clauses are disfavored in Florida law because they relieve one party of an obligation to use appropriate due care. This shifts injury risk to the party who is least likely to be able to take the proper precautions to avoid serious injury.
That court stated that the law can be enforced only when the intent to release all liability is made very clear. The waiver in this case involved only the paintball tournament and not the vendor show area where the accident happened.
Our traumatic brain injury legal team well knows the ongoing problems that head injuries can cause. Even victims of relatively ‘minor’ head injuries can suffer painful headaches, blurred vision and difficulty concentrating that can have a major negative effect on their quality of life and ability to work.
We were pleased to obtain a record-setting $60 million verdict for a gas station worker who suffered a serious TBI when a train derailed and smashed into the store where he worked. Those cases are very satisfying for us personally because we know that we have helped to provide the injured person with vital medical care that he will need for life.