Every year, tens of thousands of people are injured on amusement rides. Whether it's the latest high-speed roller coaster or a ride at the local county fair, owners, operators, and manufacturers have a responsibility to make certain their rides operate as safely as possible.
If you're injured, you may be at fault. Perhaps you didn't follow the rules, and stuck your arms outside of the car when you'd been instructed not to. But in other cases, the amusement ride owner, operator, or manufacturer may have been negligent. If that's the case, you may be able to sue and recover money for damages including medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
You may be able to bring successful legal action if some of the following circumstances are present:
The ride is inherently dangerous A ride may be dangerous, even when it's operated and maintained properly. That's the case with "water walking balls", for example. These large inflatable spheres are found at amusement parks and carnivals, where people are invited to climb in them and roll over water. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has said that it "does not know of any safe way to use" these balls. They haven't been banned outright, however.
In other cases, a ride or restraint system may be improperly designed.
The ride was improperly maintained Portable rides, like the ones you might see at your county fair, are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. But fixed-site rides, such as the ones found at major amusement parks, are regulated by each state, so the requirements vary.
A park still bears an obligation to properly inspect and maintain its rides. If, for example, rust has weakened parts of a roller coaster track, or the T-bars that hold riders in the car are broken, the owner isn't properly maintaining the ride.
The operator was negligent or improperly trained Ride operators don't always take the care and precautions they should. If the ride is located at a carnival, they often work about 14 hours a day, seven days a week. Many are migrant workers who speak little English and may be reluctant to report safety problems. They may sometimes simply be too exhausted to properly set up and supervise a ride.
In other cases, workers operate a ride at faster-than-recommended speeds. This can create a very dangerous situation, even in rides that may seem tame. In 2011, a miniature train derailed in South Carolina, killing one young boy and injuring 28 other people, some of them seriously. The ride operator wasn't properly trained, and the coroner's report determined that the ride was going up to three times its recommended speed.
If you've been injured on an amusement ride, contact an attorney with experience in personal injury law, like Randall A. Wolff & Associates, Ltd.He or she can help you decide if you have a case.