Kimberly Barnes has filed a lawsuit against Urban Air Adventure Park after her 10-year-old son fell from a zipline and suffered serious injuries.
Barnes let her son go to Urban Air Adventure Park in Lakeland, Florida on Sept. 1 to celebrate his best friend’s birthday party. Later that day, she received a phone call that her son had fallen off a zipline and was seriously injured.
“It was almost like everything in my world just stopped when I found out that he was hurt,” she said. “It was the start of a nightmare. No parent wants to ever hear that their child has been injured or fallen from a ride.”
The suit says that the boy lost his grip on the front ropes and fell about 20 to 25 feet onto the concrete surface. He was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital, where he spent five days. The boy suffered a brain injury, broken ribs and a punctured lung and had to undergo several surgeries.
The lawsuit accuses Urban Air Adventure Park employees of failing to check and secure the boy’s harness properly before he went on the zipline.
“They put his harness on like a jacket, and that was the end of it,” Steven Capriati, the family’s lawyer, said. “No one else checked to see if anything had been buckled. A failure like this is something that is almost unexplainable. It’s supposed to be a family-friendly environment and you send your kids there expecting it to be safe, which is what our client did. But that didn’t happen, so somebody did not do their job.”
Urban Air Adventure Park requires parents and guardians to sign a waiver agreeing to allow their child to participate in potentially dangerous activities. They also warn that even if the company ensures reasonable care, there’s still a risk that a child could suffer serious injuries or be killed.
However, Capriati said that the company breached its duty of care and the agreement doesn’t apply in this situation.
Although the boy has returned to school, Barnes said that he still suffers physically, mentally and emotionally.
Barnes is asking for more than $15,000 in damages from the lawsuit.