It’s summer, a time when many people visit amusement parks, state fairs, and carnivals. The only problem is, amusement parks sometimes aren’t safe. In late July, for example, a ride at the Ohio State Fair broke part, killing one person and injuring seven more.
U.S. Government: Almost 31,000 Injuries a Year Caused by Amusement Park Attractions
An estimated 31,000 injuries last year were caused by amusement park attractions, according to the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). The U.S. CPSC estimates that amusement park rides have caused 22 deaths since 2010, excluding water parks and water slides.
The government’s analysis of data is disputed by an industry group, the International Association of Amusement Parks (IAAP). They estimate that 335 million people visit amusement parks annually, and in 2015, just 1,508 injuries occurred.
However, some of the discrepancy in data is caused by tabulations of different types of amusement parks. The IAAP’s data come from fixed sites with amusement-park rides. It does not collect them on traveling sites such as carnivals or state fairs.
Regulation and inspection of rides is not uniform through the country either. As CNN notes, CPSC is in charge of regulating mobile amusement parks. But there is not a national body that regulates fixed-site parks. Regulation is left to states and municipalities, and is uneven around the country. Not all states regulate amusement park rides.
Liability Issues Involved in Amusement Park Injuries and Deaths
The lack of uniform regulations and inspections complicates the issue of liability for any accident. Generally, an entity that owns and operates a malfunctioning piece of equipment is liable for any damages it causes, provided that the entity knew or should have known that its maintenance, operation, or the condition under which it operated was dangerous to the public.
It is possible that states and localities might be liable as well, if they have regulations and inspection standards on the books and they were not followed.
New York state courts use a comparative negligence rule in determining liability as well. If the court finds that an injured or deceased party contributed to the accident or to the improper functioning of the equipment, any award will be reduced by the percentage the court finds they were contributory.
If someone falls out of a roller coaster, for example, and the court finds that the person was not using the safety restraints, compensation may be reduced.
Parents are urged to make sure their children follow all safety regulations and wear all safety gear, and to do so themselves.
Amusement Park Accident? Call an Experienced Attorney
Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are seasoned product liability and personal injury attorneys representing residents of all 5 boroughs of NYC and Long Island. We can help you with injuries and fatalities from accidents, no matter what the circumstances are.
Our initial consultation is free. We will discuss your case and potential next steps. Call for a free case review with an experienced lawyer today.
Additional amusement park injury lawsuit resources:
- Knight, Victoria. “Amusement Parks Linked to Thousands of Injuries in 2016, Safety Commission Estimates.” CNN, July 28, 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/28/health/amusement-park-safety-data-2016/index.html
- Thompson, Meghan C, et al. “US Pediatric Injuries Involving Amusement Rides, 1990-2010.” Clinical Pediatrics 52(5): 433-440. May 1, 2013. http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/28/health/amusement-park-safety-data-2016/index.html