Amusement parks are popular venues year-round for children and adults, and their visits range in destination from the regional Six Flags in various cities, to local county fairs, to the cream-of-the-crop parks like Walt Disney World and Disneyland. We trust that we’ll have a memorable time, and that nothing will happen while we are there. After all, we know these professional amusement parks undergo the most rigorous of safety inspections… most of the time.
Amusement parks have been in existence for centuries and we, as consumers, spend an exorbitant amount of money to create an unforgettable experience for our children, grandchildren and extended families. Approximately 270 million people visit amusement parks on an annual basis, and an average of 7,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained at these very same amusement parks. Injuries range from cuts and bruises to broken limbs, head trauma and death. Sadly, children rank among the highest incident of injury.
Federal agencies regulate mobile amusement park rides, such as those that are transported from city to city as in a county fair, or spring fling event at a college. Many states require safety inspections of these rides before the fair or event begins their operation, and must prove compliance before the event opens to the public. In larger parks, signs are posted that warn riders to refrain from riding on the ride if they have certain conditions: heart ailments, height restrictions, fear of fast moving vehicles, etc. Yet, despite warnings and precautions, injuries can still occur. Unfortunately, mechanical issues of all types can occur on an amusement park ride, from a sudden lack or surge of power, to stopping on the tracks or in the air, to someone’s failure to perform adequate inspections for maintenance and repair.
Those who are injured have a few choices when filing a claim: negligence against the amusement park (such as in the case of improper operation of a ride, or failure to post warnings), or a product defect claim (as in a product malfunction, or when a part of the ride becomes disengaged from the main part). Causes of amusement park injuries include:
- Bumper cars and spinning rides that whip around quickly, causing neck, back and head injury
- Death after someone falls or is thrown from a ride
- Drowning in water rides and slides
- Brain aneurysm, stroke or cardiac arrest while riding a fast ride for which the rider is unprepared
- Being thrown or ejected from a ride where the body hits an object in the way or lands against another object (against a fence or into a nearby structure)
- Rider misconduct and horseplay while on the ride (taking off the seat belt, standing up)
- Ride operator attempts to fix the ride while the ride is still in motion
If you have been injured, or know of someone who has been injured at an amusement park, you will soon find out that taking on the bigger parks is not something that an individual wants to do on his own. Entrusting in the assistance of a firm with a history of successful amusement park settlement cases could mean happier vacation times in the future for your and your family.