Accidents happen all the time, even in places where we expect to be having the most fun. Amusement parks are really no exception. In fact, amusement park rides like roller coasters, water slides, and bumper cars can cause thousands of injuries each and every year! Injuries resulting from these accidents can range from cuts and bruises, to broken bones or severe head trauma – and even, in some cases, fatalities.
Accidents in the News
Those enjoying themselves at amusement parks are susceptible to also sustaining injuries there. California has seen some of these accidents happen every year. In fact, recently in June 2015, two people were seriously injured at an amusement park in Santa Clara, California. The accident took place on a roller coaster and an employee ended up being hospitalized for traumatic injuries after they were struck by a train returning to the station of a popular roller-coaster at California’s Great America amusement park. Another guest on that same roller-coaster reported the incident, as they sustained a hand injury and were taken to the hospital for the same ride.
What happens when these unfortunate accidents take place? In this case, the roller coaster was closed and remained closed until an investigation was completed. They do not believe that the ride malfunctioned, but investigations and precautions must be taken so these things don’t continue to injure others in the future. These things occur all the time – that same week, three children suffered injuries in an accident in Maine involving a roller coaster, and a little girl was found unconscious after riding a roller coaster in Southern California.
What Types of Accidents May Occur?
The first thing to understand is that, when it comes to accidents that occur at amusement parks, accidents are fairly common. In 2006 alone, approximately 8,800 people were injured on rides (even though the ones recorded were only injuries serious enough to require emergency room treatment). This means that these numbers are even higher than what we know about! But what kind of accidents may occur?
There are some accidents that are more likely to happen than others. This can include head and back injuries from being whipped around, death as a result of falling or being thrown from a ride, stroke from trauma to ligaments in the neck, traumatic brain injury, brain aneurysms, lacerations or broken bones, or drowning on water slides.
Various types of legal claims can stem from accidents that occur at amusement parks. These claims may depend specifically on the nature of the accident that occurred. However, there are some that are most common.
- Negligence: Sometimes accidents are caused by the carelessness or inattention of park employees, and in this case, negligence comes into play. Amusement parks are responsible for the actions of their employees so, if negligence occurs, injured parties may be able to sue the park. Examples of negligence may include but aren’t limited to failing to post clear warning signs, failing to property train operators, failing to maintain equipment, or failing to regularly inspect rides.
- Product Liability: Defective rides may be caused by improper maintenance, inspection, operation, or use, and may cause accidents and injuries. Plaintiffs must prove that the structure, equipment, or past was defective and that the defect specifically caused injury or death to a victim.
- Assumption of Risk: Sometimes it may be obvious that participating in something is dangerous, but somebody will do it anyway. If this is the case, then you have “assumed the risk.” In some states, a park will be able to show that you assumed the risks of a certain ride, and therefore will not be held responsible for your injuries sustained. In other states, they will not be able to use this as a defense.
- Rider Non-Compliance: This comes into play when an injured rider did not comply with posted age, weight, or height requirements.
- Ticket Disclaimers: A disclaimer at a park involves the legal language saying that you absolve the park of all liability when you enter the park. This means you will not be able to bring a lawsuit against them.
It is important to always take precautions and special safety measures when you are visiting an amusement park. However, if you end up becoming injured, you may need to depend on an attorney to work with you on your case. In California, injuries are always happening at parks each year. WTW located in California may be able to help you with your case! Call and find out where you stand.