When you walk through the gates of an amusement park, your adrenaline is probably already rushing. You are making mental notes of all the rides you just can’t wait to get to. You are so excited about the roller coasters, rides, entertainment, and junk foods that are waiting for you. You never imagine an injury could happen. However, thousands of people are actually injured in amusement parks every year. Spinning rides, water slides, roller coasters, etc. could malfunction and cause severe injuries. Sharp metal edges and uneven surfaces could lead to even more injuries.
People are injured in a lot of different ways at amusement parks. Some of the injuries are minor and include just cuts and scrapes. Others have been fatal.
According to The Consumer Safety Product Commission, about 9,000 people are injured on amusement park rides every year. This only accounts for injuries that required emergency room visits. Another 3,000 are injured on inflatable rides at amusement parks and still another 3,000 ae injured on water park slides.
Additionally, from 1987 to the year 2000, more than 50 people were killed in amusement parks. This included 16 deaths on roller coasters. With these facts in mind, it should come as no surprise if you find yourself injured at an amusement park too.
Some types of amusement park rides are actually regulated by the government. These are considered fixed rides like you would find when you go to Disneyland. They are not as strictly regulated as mobile rides. Those would be the rides that travel from one place to another at fairs and carnivals.
The only loophole to this has to do with roller coasters and only applies in some states. In some places, roller coasters are strictly regulated and inspected.
The Types of Injuries
There are several types of injuries that are considered the most common at amusement parks. These include:
• Head and neck injuries from being whipped around on roller coasters, spinning rides, and bumper cars
• Death from being thrown from an amusement park ride
• Trauma to the neck, or even stroke due to roller coasters or other stop and start rides
• Brain injury from g-forces and brain stress on roller coasters that go to rapid speeds
• Brain injury from detached objects on the roller coaster hitting a person’s head
• Drowning on water rides including lazy rivers and wave pools
This is, by far, not the full extent of the list of possible injuries. Your own injury may have resulted from one of these or something else completely.
How Do These Accidents Happen?
If you are injured at an amusement park, then it is very important that you know what caused the accident. You may actually know or you may need an attorney to investigate the incident. Knowing this information will be very important when proving liability and getting damages in the courtroom.
The list of the most common causes of injuries begins with the actual nature of the ride. Some amusement park rides simply have risk along with them. People who ride things that go very fast could develop retinal hemorrhages, subdural hematomas, headaches, and even neck or head injuries just because of the way the ride works. However, there are other causes of these injuries as well, including:
• Mechanical failure
• Improper operation
• Passenger misuse
All of these could lead to an injury, but understanding what the culprit in your own accident is will determine whether or not you have a personal injury claim.
If you are injured at an amusement park, you will need to make a personal injury claim. And, of course, that means proving negligence. If you cannot prove that someone was responsible through negligence or intentional means, then you will not have a case. There are numerous situations when the park or an employee will be responsible through negligence. Even if it is an employee, then it will be the liability of the park.
Some examples of how negligence could be the cause include the following:
• If the amusement park failed to post warning signs about the possibility of injury, then they are liable.
• If the amusement park did not post signs about blood pressure or heart problem concerns then they can be held liable.
• If the amusement park doesn’t properly train employees on safety or ride operation, then this is their responsibility.
• Employees may improperly operate a ride and this could result in injury. Again, this makes the amusement park liable.
• The employees may not provide correct safety information about a ride and this could lead to injury.
In any of these cases, the fault will lie on the amusement park, and as long as negligence can be proven, then you will have a civil case against the company.
There are some cases where amusement park injuries happen due to defective rides. There have been situations where lap bars have come unlatched during the ride or other things have occurred. In these cases, the responsibility will only fall on the amusement park if they failed to inspect the rides properly. There is a possibility that the liability will fall onto the manufacturer of the ride. This is something that would fall under product liability law. You will need an attorney who will know how to navigate these laws and make the right decisions for civil suits.
Amusement parks are meant to be all about the fun and the thrills. And thousands of people enter those gates every year without anything happening. However, thousands of others are injured too. If you have been injured in an amusement park, then you will need to seek medical help right away. Then, you will need to get as much documentation about the nature of the ride as possible. It is best to never wait because there is a statute of limitations and waiting even a few weeks could mean witnesses forget or evidence is lost. So, contact an attorney as soon as possible and start on your case.