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What are Some Common Amusement Park Accidents?


Published in Amusement Park Injury on April 10, 2017.

Thousands of people suffer injuries at amusement parks every year. Due to the inherently dangerous nature of some rides and attractions, some accidents even cause deaths. When people suffer injuries or lose a loved one due to an amusement park incident, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible. If you find yourself entangled in a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death claim for an amusement park injury, it’s vital to have reliable legal representation.

Common Causes of Amusement Park Injuries

Most of the injuries that happen at amusement parks are due to problems with rides or injuries rider sustains from the force of intense rides. Common examples include:

  • Whiplash and other neck injuries from momentum shifts at high speeds, such as on a roller coaster.
  • Traumatic brain injuries from G-force and high speeds.
  • Blunt force trauma from being ejected from rides, or foreign objects colliding with riders while on a ride.
  • Broken bones.
  • Drowning or injuries from oxygen deprivation on water rides.
  • Brain aneurysms from high speed rides.

This is not an exhaustive list, and many amusement park injuries can leave victims with permanent disabilities.

Assumed Risk

Amusement parks typically restrict access to rides based on age, height, weight, and medical status. For example, most amusement parks prohibit pregnant women from riding most attractions to prevent injuries to the fetus or complications with pregnancy. It is important for attendees to abide by these rules and restrictions. Failing to do so could cause serious harm. It could also shift the blame from the park to the person who was hurt.

While amusement parks may provide guidelines for using rides and visiting attractions, most feature fine print on attendees’ tickets explaining that guests “assume the risk” of riding rides. This is meant to deflect potential lawsuits, but assumed risk waivers rarely hold up in court. If the courts find an amusement park staff member negligent or that the park didn’t properly address a problem with a ride, the park may be liable for the injuries and damages of its visitors.

Proving Negligence

If an amusement park staff member was inattentive while operating a ride and a guest suffers an injury as a result, the negligent staff member will be liable for the subsequent damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury law hinges on negligence. To prove negligence, the plaintiff’s attorney must show the court:

  • The defendant had a duty to act with reasonable care. This could include staff members’ obligation to supervise rides and properly operate them or the park providing safety guidelines for acceptable riders for certain rides.
  • The defendant breached this duty in some way. This could include an inattentive staff member failing to operate a ride at an appropriate speed or a careless ride technician failing to perform proper ride maintenance.
  • The plaintiff suffered an injury as a direct result of the defendant’s breach of duty.

If a faulty ride caused injury, then the manufacturer could be held liable under product liability laws. Manufacturers must represent their products accurately, provide clear instructions for use, and offer complete safety warnings for any possible risks associated with regular use of the product. Additionally, they must ensure product designs are sound and manufacturing is consistent. Failing any of these requirements could leave the manufacturer liable for an injured plaintiff’s damages.

Damages and Compensation

An amusement park injury could leave a victim with a permanent disability or even prove fatal. In a personal injury case, plaintiffs may be able to collect compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage (if any personal belongings were damaged in the incident), and lost income, if their injuries prevent them from returning to work for an extended time. If an accident results in the victim’s death, his or her surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim under state wrongful death laws.