My fault, no, sorry… it’s your fault

My fault, no, sorry… it’s your fault

25 July 2019 Off By Facto Edizioni

/ by Aldo Avancini /

The park’s responsibility in the event of an accident: the distinctions according to Aldo Avancini.

Ing. Aldo Avancini / Proposta Srl

I was thinking recently about the value of words. This thought came about when wanting to buy a new car. I went to different dealers, and several of them offered me a buy-back at a guaranteed price. A nice idea and one worth considering, but… I thought to myself: when will they tell me that I would in fact only be buying half of the car? In the same way, in the lift in a hospital, the sign reads “Not for use by children under 12 years unless accompanied”, leading me to ask: “Accompanied by whom? By other children, perhaps 7, 8 or even 11 years old?”

And what about the now widespread concept of “weaker party” often also seen as the “losing party”, or other similar definitions? Today parks are forced to accept the increased propensity of guests to claim justice in the broadest sense, for every aspect (essentially for any hypothetical damage deriving from faults of the park). It is sad to say, but it must be admitted that in a park, as far as we are concerned (with warnings, obligations, signs, etc.), no matter how many notices and how much information are given to guests and how many languages these are in, it will never be possible to highlight in a small space all the possible infractions (note, I say ‘possible’, and not ‘probable’) that a guest could commit inside a park, perhaps not observing the instructions of the operators, the limits of the activities or even by simply moving around without paying the slightest attention to where they are.

But above all, in my opinion, the real question is: should it not be considered offensive to guests to base things on the concept that they are not able to move around the park applying the normal attention they pay to their own personal safety? Why is anyone who crosses a road while sending a message on their phone, even on pedestrian crossings, in principle the weaker party in the event of an accident? And what about guests who climb off an attraction that is still moving!? All of this without taking into account intent, as in the case of a person who enters a park visibly limping and after entering, reporting a fall, asks the park to pay damages!

Today this approach is likely to lead to situations at the limit between the serious and facetious, ranging from the Washingtonia palm tree (how do I protect a kid who runs into it, if he doesn’t even notice it’s there?) to rabbit holes in the green areas of water parks (where stepping into them you fall or worse break a bone), to hawthorn hedges (with their thorns). It is not possible to foresee all of this and above all to train guests to be aware of it all and adjust their behaviour as a result! Still I wonder, don’t guests, or those who are with them (relatives and friends) care enough to advise them about their behaviour?

I believe it is right that in the event of an accident there should be an administrative, even judicial, penalty in more significant cases, but I stress that there is no liability for the park a priori, always and in any case, even when the behaviour of the guest is incorrect, not compliant with the requirements of the manufacturer first of all and then of the park, that are not in line with the instructions of the operators, professionally trained and supported in their actions by the park’s management. 

Taken from Games&Parks Industry July 2019, page 92

Ing. Aldo Avancini /  Proposta Srl /