A wrongful death lawsuit filed against Disneyland, the Walt Disney Company and its theme park division accused Disneyland employees of laughing at a 66-year-old disabled woman from Ventura County before she fell off a ride at the park.
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) January 20, 2023
Joanne Aguilar sustained severe injuries from the fall that caused her to go into septic shock, the lawsuit alleges. She died on Jan. 29, 2022. Now, her family is pointing fingers at Disney and seeking compensation for physical pain, mental suffering, and humiliation.
Aguilar reportedly went to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in August of 2021. She was recovering from a knee injury at the time of the visit, but her two adult daughters, who were with her at the park, helped her get a wheelchair from Disney.
They went to ride the Jungle Cruise attraction, thinking that Aguilar would ride on the ADA-accessible boat that allows disabled individuals to get on board with a wheelchair.
However, they found that a wheelchair-accessible boat was not available. Aguilar then decided to ride on the standard-access boat with her children’s assistance. According to the Los Angeles Times, the staff had told the mom and daughters that they could use the standard boats.
However, things went wrong as she tried to get off the boat. Rather than come to her rescue and help her get off safely, the lawsuit alleged that Disneyland employees mocked Aguilar’s struggles as they were reportedly seen “snickering” and “giggling.”
According to the suit, which also alleges violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the mockery dehumanized her as she lost her balance and stumbled, falling backward.
Aguilar was taken to the hospital after the fall, which was described as a bad one that caused her femur to break. From the hospital, she was taken to a rehabilitation center in Oxnard, California, where she contracted an infection five months later.
The infection ultimately led to her death after causing her to go into septic shock.
While Aguilar died months after the fatal fall, the plaintiffs said that her death stemmed from the injuries she sustained during the fall.
The lawsuit also seeks recompense for medical expenses, attorney’s fees and funeral expenses.
Disney, on the other hand, is not attempting to bear any responsibility for Aguilar’s death as it argued that Aguilar’s injuries were a result of her and her daughter’s conduct and carelessness. Their defense in court is largely built on the claim that the family were aware of the risks coming to the park.