Amusement Park
08 Aug

How to Avoid Amusement Ride Accidents

Amusement rides are here for our amusement -- it’s in the name. But most people may not realize just how common amusement ride accidents can be. More than 43,000 Americans are treated for an amusement ride-related injury every year. 
To protect entertainment seekers from injury, the federal government regulates traveling carnivals while state governments regulate stationary amusement parks. Amusement ride accidents can range from minor to serious injuries that can result in death.

But don’t get scared away just yet. While there is a risk to amusement rides, there is also regulation. And you should be informed of your options in the event that you are injured in one of these scenarios. 

Accidents that occur at amusement parks tend to fall into four different categories: guest negligence, guest health issues, park negligence, or a generic accident.

Guest Negligence

When a guest refuses to follow safety instructions or deliberately intends to break park rules, any accident that occurs would be considered guest negligence. The rules aren’t in place to make an amusement ride less fun -- they are called safety instructions for a reason.

Be sure to follow the posted instructions to minimize the risk of injury and ensure that you and your loved ones have a safe and enjoyable ride. 

Guest Health Issues

In some cases, an accident may occur due to a guest’s known or unknown health issues. If you have a trip to an amusement park planned, ask your doctor if riding the more extreme rides and rollercoasters are a good idea. 

Walking around an amusement park in the sun all day can also be taxing. Mix that with some high-intensity amusement rides and you could end up with an ugly result. Be sure to wear sunscreen, stay hydrated, and be aware of how your body feels throughout the day to prevent any unnecessary stress or strain. 

Park Negligence

An amusement park has a certain responsibility to ensure the safety of guests in ride operation, maintenance, and park guidelines. Any failure to meet these standards by accident or intention would be considered negligence.

While you have no control over the standards of an amusement park and how they uphold them, you can do your research beforehand to measure just how safe the park is. Check reviews online, see if they have any awards or certifications on display, and of course check to see if there is any news coverage of past accidents or issues. 

Generic Accident

An accident that occurs without direct action from anyone is considered a generic accident or act of god, such as a lightning strike or some other random, uncontrollable issue.

Checking the weather before your trip and adhering to any storm or safety warnings is always a good call, but at the end of the day, there is always a chance of something happening. 

Common Injuries

The types of amusement park injuries are many. Most parks include rides such as roller coasters, swings, and water slides, all of which have the potential for injury. Common injuries include whiplash, back injuries, head injuries, neck injuries, heart attacks, strokes, brain trauma, drowning, bone fractures, cuts, and torn ligaments. Be aware that if you suffer one of these injuries from an amusement ride that you should take specific steps to ensure that you receive the appropriate care.

Reasons for Amusement Ride Accidents

While amusement ride accidents fall within four legal categories, the risks for amusement park accidents can occur due to ride operator error, mechanical failure, bad design, and so much more. As a park guest, it’s not your responsibility to ensure that rides are safe, but you can take steps for your own protection. Take the time to observe your surroundings, the park regulations, the rides, and the ride operators. If you are concerned about the safety of an amusement park ride, do not ride it.

Ride operator error has a lower chance of occurring at stationary amusement parks, but it can happen. When operating a ride, the amusement park ride operator should be attentive to the ride and guests. This means that ride operators should not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, not be distracted by guests, and not be drowsy.

Mechanical failure is a possibility with any amusement park ride. However, parks are supposed to perform routine safety checks and test all doors, lap bars, and shoulder harnesses to ensure safety. Since rides are often under continuous use for up to 14 hours a day, it’s important for rides to have emergency mechanisms in place.

Defective and poorly designed rides sometimes do not go through enough testing to ensure safety and reveal design flaws. Parks can cut down on possible injuries and fatalities by ensuring that a ride is tested. As a rider, you always have the right to decide not to ride an amusement park ride so be sure to use your discretion.

The Legal Rights for an Amusement Ride Accident

When it comes to injury at an amusement park and legal rights, the federal government does not have any guidelines on amusement park safety. However, most states do have laws to regulate amusement parks and traveling carnivals. If you suffer an amusement ride injury, you may be entitled to certain legal damages.

An amusement park may be obligated to compensate you for the medical expenses associated with your amusement park injury. In other cases, an amusement park employee who suffers an injury while working may also be entitled to compensation and damages. Some injuries may also incur damages for pain and suffering.

Take Action for your Amusement Ride Accident

If you believe that the amusement park is to blame for your injury, you need to take the right steps to prove that the park is to blame by proving the unsafe condition caused the injury, failure of the park to appropriately handle the unsafe condition, and showing that your injury was not your fault. You will also need medical proof of your injury.

Report your injury as soon as it happens so that the injury is recorded by the park and management. Speak with those who watched the accident occur, and ask for their contact information. Take photos of the ride, injury, and other information about the accident.

Every amusement ride accident is different. To pursue your legal rights under the law, it’s important to take the right steps to ensure the success of your case. Speak with a lawyer today to determine whether or not you have a case under the law for your amusement park injury. You can reach us at 352-371-4000!