Amusement Park and Carnival Injuries: Common Injuries and Liability
Amusement parks, carnivals, water parks, state fairs, and other entertainment facilities complete with rides and cotton candy are some of the most favorite things for children, and often their parents too. And while millions of children visit amusement parks and carnivals each year and leave with nothing but a sunburn and a sugar high, some children (and adults) are the victims of tragic amusement park and carnival accidents. When these accidents occur and people are harmed, getting to the bottom of what went wrong and who is to blame is important for the victim and their family, as well as to ensure the problem is corrected and future attendees are protected.
Amusement Park and Carnival Injuries – Common Injuries and Statistics
Last summer, CNN published an article revealing that “thousands of kids [are] hurt annually on amusement rides.” The article was published in response to the fall of three girls from a county fair Ferris wheel in Tennessee, and the death of a 10-year-old boy at the world’s tallest waterslide in Kansas.
The CNN article also provided a summary of data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding children and rides at amusement parks and carnivals. The results were sobering: over a 20-year period, the number of children under the age of 18 treated in emergency rooms for amusement park-related injuries was nearly 93,000, or about 20 injuries per day. Keep in mind that these numbers do not include injuries suffered by adults.
Some of the most common injury types that researchers reported were head and neck problems, soft tissue injuries, and injuries to the arms, legs, and face. Other serious injuries are much less common, but do happen, such as amputation injuries, serious back/neck/spinal cord injuries, and decapitation injuries.
Causes of Amusement Park and Carnival Injuries
The reasons that amusement park and carnival injuries occur, as well as the types of injuries, are varied, as demonstrated by the USA Today article providing a synopsis of serious amusement park injuries over a 10-year period. In the article, causes of injuries include:
- Ride structural defects, such as weight-bearing issues;
- Amusement park guests entering restricted areas;
- Equipment defects, including snapping cables;
- Poor ride and equipment maintenance;
- Safety bar issues (either a result of a ride defect or ride operator failure to check safety bars before initiating ride); and
- Hair, clothes, and loose objects become caught in ride parts.
In addition to injuries that happen on rides like those listed above, slip and fall accidents can also occur as a result of debris, slippery and wet surfaces, and unsafe/poorly maintained walking surfaces. Drowning and drowning-related injuries on water rides has also occurred.
Liability for a Serious Amusement Park Injury
Amusement park and carnival injuries, especially those that occur on rides, are terrifying as they often involve speed, force, and heavy equipment that result in severe, and sometimes fatal, injuries. When an amusement park accident occurs and a victim suffers harm, it is critical to determine the source of injury and liability.
In most cases, an amusement park accident and injury could have been prevented but for negligence. It is the duty of the amusement park to ensure that all rides are functioning properly; that all rides are inspected, maintained, and serviced on a regular basis; that all ride operators and employees are adequately trained; that signs and warnings restricting access for certain persons or of certain areas are posted; and that the facility is otherwise maintained in a condition that is free from hazards. When this duty of care is breached and harm to a park visitor occurs as a result, the injured party can bring forth a premises liability lawsuit against the amusement park. If the injury was caused as a consequence of an equipment malfunction, a product liability lawsuit may be appropriate.
Helping You After a Serious Alabama Amusement Park Accident
If you are involved in a serious amusement park or carnival accident in Alabama, our talented Alabama premises liability attorneys at the law offices of Smith & McGhee are here to represent you during the recovery process. To learn more and discover what your options may be, contact our law firm today for a consultation. Call our office today at (334) 702-1744.