Amusement Park and Carnival Ride Liability

Amusement Park Accidents

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Families looking for fun often choose to visit an amusement park or a traveling carnival, but what starts out as a pleasure trip may end in a trip to the hospital, or worse. Park grounds are subject to slip-and-fall hazards; rides may be defectively designed or poorly maintained. A day of recreation can lead to broken bones, paralysis or even death.

According to a recent study, over 290 million people a year visit amusement parks, enjoying in excess of 1.7 billion rides. Given this large number of rides, amusement parks are generally safe. However, a lack of continued attention to safety results in horrific amusement park accidents.

Amusement Park and Roller Coaster Safety

A study conducted by the National Safety Counsel in regards to a survey of fixed-site amusement ride injuries, found that of the 290 million people visiting theme parks, only 1,299 suffered injuries.

In 2007, a 13-year-old girl visiting Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom was involved in an accident in which both her feet were severed above the ankle. An investigation by state regulators concluded that the accident, which took place as the girl was riding the Superman Tower of Power, occurred when a faulty cable snapped. However, the regulators also determined that poor operator training had contributed to the severity of the accident: If the ride’s operator had shut down the ride in a timely manner, the girl would have only suffered minor injuries. The girl and her family filed suit against Six Flags, which ultimately settled the case for a confidential amount.

Other amusement park and roller coaster injuries and deaths include:

  • Six Flags Great Adventure (N.J.): A test ride resulted in a park employee falling to his death.
  • Six Flags Over Georgia: A teenager went over a fence to retrieve his hat he lost on the ride and was decapitated.
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain (C.A): A husband was killed and his wife injured when their gondola fell 50 feet from its cable.
  • Six Flags New England: A man died after he was thrown from the Superman ride.
  • Six Flags Over Texas: A woman drowned in the Roaring Rapids water park when her raft unexpectedly deflated and overturned, trapping her underneath.
  • Six Flags Great America (I.L): A girl’s toes were crushed on the Cajun Cliffhanger when the operator raised the floor before the ride was over.
  • Six Flags New Orleans: While strapping in her grandson, the ride started and the boy’s grandmother dies on the Joker’s Jukebox.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has the authority to investigate accidents involving amusement rides and to work with ride manufacturers to fix defects. Because of a patchwork of state regulations, however, it is difficult to obtain reliable accident statistics. The CPSC does say that “100,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to mechanical amusement rides, inflatable amusement devices, and waterslides between 1997 and 2004, an average of 12,500 injuries per year.”

Other findings by the CPSC:

  • Sixty percent of reported injuries were amusement ride related.
  • Twenty percent of injuries were linked to inflatables.
  • The remaining 20 percent of injuries involved water slides.

In Missouri, parks such as Six Flags St. Louis, Worlds of Fun in Kansas City and Silver Dollar City in Branson fall under state regulation, with the Division of Fire Safety investigating whenever an accident occurs. In St. Louis County, the St. Louis County Department of Public Works is also authorized to inspect rides when they are set up.

Contact a Roller Coaster Injury Lawyer Today

If you have been hurt or someone you love has been hurt or killed in an amusement park or carnival ride accident, injury lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm can help. Founder Christopher Dixon is a Life-Time Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and is recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

For a FREE consultation, call 314-409-7060 or 855-402-7274.