Amusement Park Rides: Risky and Deadly

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Many of us have fond memories from our youth of visiting amusement parks and carnival rides at county fairs. Roller coasters and other rides provided quick, exuberant thrills in which passengers yelled and shrieked as they clung to their seats. High school graduates over the years reminisce about visiting Disneyland for grad night, during which they boarded thrill-seeking rides such as Space Mountain and the Matterhorn. Apart from being scared to wit’s end, the worst that generally happened was water splattering their clothes. As adults, we take our children and grandchildren to theme parks and carnival midways so they can experience the fast-paced rides. Is it always fun and thrilling?

Amusement park rides are one of the safest recreational activities, and the National Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 270 million people visit amusement parks in the United States each year. The site also claims an average of 7,000 of the visitors sustain injuries that require trips to emergency rooms while visiting a favorite amusement park or venue. The last thing you want is to become a statistic from your trip to an amusement park or carnival trip to a ride in an ambulance or a hearse.

Many news media reported in March 2014 about the developing lawsuit from the family of a 52-year-old woman who plunged 75 feet to her death at a ride at Six Flags in Arlington in July of 2013. Six Flags and the company that manufactured the ride are putting the blame on each other, while the woman’s family is still trying to seek justice for the loss of a loved family member.

Although amusement park standards are set by the American Society for Testing and Materials International While, not all amusement parks or county fair venues are regulated in the same way. The average consumer does not take it upon himself to determine whether the park is safe. If the park is open and the rides are available, so all must be fine. However, there are some factors that may be critical as you visit your favorite park next time:

  • Have you paid attention to the condition of the rides and the overall amusement park appearance? Is the park kept clean and inviting?
  • Are there warning signs, such as those that post restrictions on age, weight or height? If so, those signs are there for a reason.
  • Pay attention to the operator: is the operator texting, reading or talking to everyone except passengers on the ride?

Amusement parks will likely be around for a long time, and many of the older ones have a long-time history of bringing joy and pleasure to families over generations. If you or someone you know has been injured at an amusement park or venue, dealing with authorities will be challenging if you choose to handle the case on your own. Seeking the advice and consult of a New York law firm who is renowned for handling personal injury cases is the first place to start.