Amusement park rides get more spectacular every year — more speed, more height, more water, more drops, more turns. But along with the bigger thrill comes the potential for more accidents and injuries. Amusement park managers and owners are responsible for making parks safer places for families to enjoy. In addition to other responsibilities, they must:
- Properly train employees — The amusement park’s owners must properly train the operators to safely operate the ride, including starting the ride, stopping it, and ways to handle an emergency that may unexpectedly occur. Properly trained employees should put safety above all else.
- Regularly inspect rides — With hundreds of moving pieces on a ride, a regular inspection schedule can help prevent accidents, if inspections are thorough and frequent. Imagine how much friction and motion happens on a tall, speeding roller coaster. Then think about how important it is that every bolt be strong and every nut tight to keep parts working safely.
- Adequately maintain rides — Whether it’s a roller coaster, a water ride or a flying car on cables, thrill rides are complicated pieces of machinery which must be repaired and updated frequently. Owners must require that maintenance be performed by qualified technicians using quality tools and materials; shortcuts and “work-arounds” put riders at risk and lead to injuries and fatalities.
What Types Of Problems Can There Be On Amusement Park Rides?
- Mechanical failure — It’s a simple fact, machines fail, and when they do, accidents and injuries occur.
- Design defects — Simply put, some thrill rides are not designed safely and unfortunately it may take many accidents before park operators and manufacturers decide to remove a ride.
- Failure to warn park guests about potential hazards of rides — Some rides are not designed for people who are pregnant, have high blood pressure, or other medical conditions. It is the park’s responsibility to clearly notify potential riders of issues they may encounter on rides.
- Inadequate staffing — Some rides require two or three or more operators. If too few attendants are running the ride, safety rules may be overlooked.
Common Injuries And Their Causes
- Head injuries — A fractured skull could happen from being thrown from a ride.
- Neck injuries — Whiplash occurs as the body is violently jerked around from side to side or front to back.
- Back injuries — Paralysis from a back injury may cause a victim to become paraplegic or quadriplegic.
- Death – Victims may die instantly, after a short stay in a hospital, or even after weeks or months of hospitalization and rehabilitation.
- Brain injury and aneurysms — Traumatic brain injury ranges from minor to severe and can affect every aspect of your life.
- Broken bones — Single or multiple broken bones can be caused by falling from a tall roller coaster, being thrown from a car or train, or dropping from a swinging seat.
- Drowning — Water rides don’t have to have deep water to be deadly. A heavy capsized boat can trap even a strong adult under water; a strong current can entangle arms and legs in submerged mechanical parts and rails.
- Amputations — Because rides are fast-moving and heavy, passengers can have fingers, toes, arms or legs cut off in an instant by cables, doors or mechanical pieces.
Who Is Liable For My Injury?
That is a complicated question because every tragedy is different. However, most of the time when a person has been injured, a safety rule has not been followed. Many injuries and deaths at amusement parks occur because ride operators fail to follow the safety guidelines of the ride. Another major cause is mechanical failure of the ride itself. Parties responsible for your injuries could be the amusement park employees and management, the ride manufacturer or designer, or a combination of both.
An injured person or family members of someone killed are entitled to recover damages from the party or parties responsible for injuries, loss of limb or death. The sources of recovery from those responsible could be through premises liability insurance, business insurance or product liability insurance. As you can see, liability is a complex legal issue, but it can be determined through thorough investigation and research.
What Do I Do Now?
The Oklahoma injury attorneys at Carr & Carr represent injured individuals and the families of people who have been killed through the negligence of others. If you or a family member was seriously hurt on an amusement park ride, please contact us online or call 877-392-4878 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. Though our lawyers have offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, we can also travel to meet you at a more convenient location.
Also, remember time limits called “statute of limitations” are in effect for filing law suits. You must file a lawsuit before the applicable time limit expires. The time limit as well as other regulations may be different in each state, so talk with the personal injury lawyers at Carr & Carr to learn what options your family has.