Amusement and water parks can be great places to take the family for a day of fun. All rides, however, come with injury risks. Not all amusement and water park owners go to the lengths required to make sure that you are safe at all times as you enjoy their attractions. Because of this, accidents – many causing significant injuries – are the end result. If you or a loved one has been hurt on an amusement park ride or water slide, you should contact the amusement park injury attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC so that we can hold negligent owners and employees responsible and prevent more injuries while providing for you and your family.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says amusement park ride injury accidents occur virtually every day on fixed-site rides at major amusement and water parks. But many more of them occur on “gypsy” (or mobile) rides that travel all over the country to local carnivals, state and county fairs, and shopping malls. During the latest year for which data is available – 2016 – emergency rooms all around the U.S. treated almost 31,000 victims of amusement park ride accidents, according to the CPSC. Children made up half of those reported injuries. One in five children from 10 to 14 years of age treated in emergency rooms were injured by amusement park rides. Three out of four small children aged five to nine who were treated for an amusement park injury were “ejected” – abruptly “discharged” – from the ride. Girls were injured more often than boys, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), which periodically reviews amusement park ride injury statistics. It also says that more than half of all fixed amusement ride injuries (permanently located at parks and not including traveling “gypsy” rides at local fairs and carnivals) happen on “adult” rides. About a third of all fixed-ride injuries occur on roller coasters, according to the NSC’s latest report.
Types of Injuries that Happen to Amusement Park Riders
Most of the reported injuries were attributed to improper restraints or padding or falling from or against a ride. Many amusement ride owners are careful to warn of the possible dangers of their rides, to protect themselves legally and as an actual preventative measure. Many reported injuries involve back and neck trauma. And amusement park roller coasters usually advise patrons who have heart conditions, or are pregnant, to skip the ride. The following injuries are those which could occur on an amusement ride:
- Concussion / Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Broken bones or torn, strained muscles, ligaments or other soft tissue
- Neck, back or spinal column injuries which, in extreme cases, could involve paralysis
- Facial injuries (broken noses or cheeks, eye injuries, lost teeth)
- Cuts, bruises or scrapes that require an emergency room visit
Many of the above injuries can be so catastrophic as to cause a wrongful death.
New York State Inspectors Try to Keep Amusement Riders Safe
The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) inspects all rides at stationary parks outside of New York City at least once a year and inspects “gypsy” rides at traveling carnivals or fairs every time they set up in a new location. A ride cannot legally operate without a permit from the DOL. In 2017, the Department conducted nearly 1,700 checks on more than 8,400 rides. Inspectors issued nearly 2,800 “tickets” – orders to correct violations and withholding approval until the violations are corrected. Approved rides are “tagged” in a prominent place, usually near the entrance. Riders are encouraged to look for these “seals of approval” before getting on any ride. New York City also inspects and licenses all fixed and traveling amusement rides. All permitted rides are licensed by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and inspected by the Buildings Department (DOB) prior to operating. Even with diligent inspections by state and city inspectors, though, injuries are not necessarily attributed to the rides themselves. Many causes of amusement ride injuries involve operator errors, mechanical breakdowns, and even design defects which may not be immediately apparent. If a ride was improperly designed, manufactured, set up, inspected, maintained or operated, and you or a family member has been injured, you could be entitled to compensation for injuries directly related to your amusement ride accident. If you’re unsure whether or not your injury qualifies, it is best to contact the amusement park attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC for a free consultation. We can help evaluate your claim, thoroughly inspect the accident scene, and ease your mind as we start you down the road to financial recovery. We understand your pain suffering. It’s why we waive all legal fees if we’re unable to win your case. If the owner of an amusement or water park did not take the appropriate measures to ensure your safety, or the operator of a ride was negligent in their duty to keep you safe, there is no reason you should have to pay expensive medical bills out of your own pocket or through your health insurance. Don’t let an accident set you back financially — contact us today.