Amusement Park Accidents: Free Falling

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Twelve-year-old Brigitte Gallagher only wanted the illusion of flying when she climbed on the bungee ride at the North Carolina State Fair on October 17th. She got a lot more than she bargained for when the ride malfunctioned and she fell to the ground, badly breaking her foot. The illusion of flying wasn’t worth the reality of falling.

North Carolina claims to have some of the strictest ride safety rules in the nation, according to a spokesman for the State Fair quoted in the local media for that region. Yet despite these supposedly rigid rules, this is the second straight year where a serious injury has occurred. Last year, five people were injured when a ride started spinning while people were climbing off of it. In that case, criminal charges were filed.

Reassurances that safety protocols are being followed are wonderful, but when injuries still occur, it is difficult to take those reassurances at face value. North Carolina’s is not the only State Fair with injury issues, but it is the state that claims to have strict ride safety standards. Injuries at fairs and carnivals are in fact relatively common, in part because so many of the rides require:

  • Extreme rates of speed
  • High speed spinning that creates large amounts of centrifugal force
  • Building and taking apart the rides many times a year, leading to multiple opportunities for mistakes to be made
  • Allowances for varying laws and rules in different states leading to inconsistent enforcement

If you or a loved one is injured while attending a fair or carnival, cutting through the red tape to figure out just what went wrong can be extremely difficult. There are so many different rules and regulations based on where you live that it is easy to be overwhelmed. Contact a qualified attorney who can help you figure out the right questions to ask.