When most people think of theme park accidents, they imagine catastrophic mechanical failures causing all kinds of mayhem. In reality, though, most incidents that occur at amusement centers are not life threatening. That does not mean they aren’t often serious, however. Severe injuries, including permanent disfigurement or disablement occur every year on thrill rides around the country, especially on roller coasters. It’s not just what happens on the rides either, as unsafe conditions on walking paths or in queuing areas may also cause accidents. Anyone who has suffered an injury while on the grounds of an amusement park should seek out a personal injury attorney who is familiar with this kind of setting, as it can often be difficult to ascertain liability.
The places most likely to cause theme park accidents are often the rides that no one would suspect. Attractions designed for young children are the most frequent culprits, as the safety measures in place on these rides are not as rigorously checked and maintained. If the attraction looks safe and kid-friendly, it’s less likely to be taken seriously and given the regular upkeep that’s needed. Roller coasters built for young children can cause serious injury if the restraints don’t function like they are supposed to, or if a child too small manages to get on the coaster.
In 2008, there were about 1,350 injuries caused by thrill rides around the nation. Of these, approximately 80 were considered serious enough to warrant a stay in the hospital. Among these incidents, a 15-year-old girl was killed in Victoria while working on disassembling a carnival ride. During another, a 6-year-old boy died after falling from a Ferris wheel. In 2007, a 13-year-old girl on a drop ride in Kentucky had both of her feet severed by a frayed cable that investigators later found to have failed from excessive rust and fatigue. No one thinks that these theme park accidents will happen to them, but when they do, they are often life-changing. Workers are also often exposed to dangerous conditions regularly, and they may have a case if they are injured while on the job.
In many cases, the extent of the injury can’t be accurately diagnosed until some time has passed. People who are exposed to extreme gravitational forces on roller coasters and other thrill rides may suffer internal trauma or whiplash, and these may not present themselves until hours or days after the initial incident. Because it can get a little nebulous here, it is best that someone who believes they’ve been affected by theme park accidents should seek out professional guidance, as a personal injury attorney who has worked similar cases before will know how to gather the necessary information for the court.
These incidents don’t necessarily have to happen while riding a roller coaster or enjoying other attractions. Poorly maintained walkways can create slippery or unstable conditions that can result in falls. Theme park accidents may also occur when other guests act inappropriately and put others at risk. In these cases, it is the amusement center’s responsibility to ensure that these people do not harm others. Finally, if there happens to be criminal activity that takes place while guests are visiting, the center may be liable if criminals harm people while inside the park.