With summer around the corner, Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents will flock to local carnivals and established amusement parks to enjoy roller coasters, water slides, and other thrill rides. However these good times can end in tragedy when an amusement park ride results in serious injury or death. If you or a loved one are seriously hurt you should consult and amusement park injury lawyer in Philadelphia to seek compensation for your injuries.
Recent news stories highlight the dangers of these rides. In August 2016, a ten year old boy was decapitated while riding a poorly designed waterside named “Verruckt.” And in July 2017 at the Ohio State Fair a thrill ride malfunctioned, killing a teenage boy and 7 other ride passengers.
Injuries from amusement park rides may occur for a variety of factors.
1. Operator error – amusement parks are known to employ seasonal help to oversee ride operations. These ride operators may be inexperienced teenagers or college students. Distraction and human error among this temporary work force is not uncommon. Unfortunately, employees who neglect to properly oversee ride operations, such as checking the secure harness, stopping a ride in a timely manner, or recognizing a rider in distress, can have devastating consequences.
2. Manufacturing defect – mechanical failure of a ride may be due to a manufacturing defect that results in catastrophic injury or death. In this situation, the ride manufacturer may be liable for accidents occurring due to an equipment defect.
3. Design defect – As in the case of the fatal accident on the Verruckt waterslide, defect in the design of the attraction may be the culprit a ride accident. Verruckt was hastily designed by improperly trained and inexperienced owners who rushed the process to induce a television program to visit the park. Flaws in the design of an attraction can make it hazardous for unsuspecting riders.
4. Failure to maintain and inspect ride – In Pennsylvania, amusement rides, fixed or portable, must be registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and inspected by a prior to opening. By law, follow-up inspections occur at monthly or each time a ride is set up for operation at a new location. While the amusement ride industry touts safety, ride failures occur due to improper maintenance and inspection of rides. With the licensed ride inspectors having a large volume of work – especially keeping up with frequent break down and set ups of traveling equipment – their inspection and maintenance checks may be missed or be substandard in quality.
Injuries sustained from amusement rides can range from minor to severe. Significant injuries may include head or neck injuries from being forcefully whipped on a rollercoaster or spinning ride. When a rider is thrown from a ride, they are at significant risk for traumatic brain injuries, fractures, and lacerations. Additionally, rides with unsafe speed may cause brain aneurysms. Finally, waterslides and other water attractions put riders at risk for drowning.
If you or a loved one has been injured while on an amusement attraction, it’s important to seek out an amusement park injury lawyer who can review your individual situation and determine who is at fault.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Wieand Law Firm for their insight into amusement park injury cases.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information may contain errors or be out of date.