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Lawsuit settled between Universal Orlando and man who suffered spinal injury on water ride

Court records did not list the terms of the settlement, but showed the suit was closed last month.
Credit: Universal
Universal’s Volcano Bay will become Universal Orlando’s third amazing theme park and provide even more incredible experiences that further complement the entire destination.

ORLANDO, Fla. — A New York man who sued Universal Orlando over a water slide accident at Volcano Bay has settled with the theme park company.

That's according to court records in Orange County, which show the case was closed last month "as the claims have been amicably resolved."

According to the suit, James Bowen and his family were on the last day of their vacation at the water park when he suffered a "spinal compression injury" and became paralyzed in the water after coming down the Punga Racers slide. 

The suit said Bowen was on the ride with his three daughters when he slammed his head against a wall in the wading pool at the end of the slide, causing his neck to "violently snap back."

The complaint said Bowen was injured despite the multiple safety checks done by Universal employees at the ride entrance.

An Orange County judge in September said Universal City Development Partners, LTD. could face paying punitive damages to Bowen and his family if a jury found the company's conduct went "beyond ordinary negligence and quite possibly gross negligence."

Bowen said he is still undergoing intense physical therapy, but his relationship with his family has greatly suffered. The original complaint said he has limited mobility and strength following the injury and spinal surgery.

After the accident, Universal reportedly changed the weight limit on the Punga Racers to 150 pounds. When the suit was filed, it said Bowen weighed 215 pounds when he went on the slide.

10 Tampa Bay has reached out to Universal Orlando for comment. 

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