Injuries and Deaths at Amusement Parks Raise Serious Questions
A series of highly-publicized accidents at amusement parks and other popular tourist attractions have led to serious injuries as well as fatalities, causing many to question the sufficiency of the safety rules governing sites of this type. Even a cursory survey of the regulations and inspection requirements applicable in states across the country reveals an inconsistent patchwork of standards which may be to blame for some of the harm sustained by visitors each and every year.
Recent accidents cause concern, outrage
The summer of 2016 has been characterized by several catastrophic amusement park accidents which have left young patrons with severe injuries and, in some cases, have resulted in death. August alone saw the tragic decapitation of a ten-year-old Kansas boy on the “Verruckt” water slide at the Schlitterbahn water park as well as a Tennessee Ferris wheel failure which sent three girls plummeting to the ground. In May, an 11-year-old girl was essentially scalped in a carnival ride accident at a Cinco de Mayo festival in Nebraska. This summer also witnessed the death of a guest at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in North Carolina due to infection caused by an undetected amoeba later identified on site.
Given the frightening stories that have emerged from numerous parks and carnivals in recent years, it should come as no surprise that concern about oversight and regulation of such attractions is growing. Critics and safety advocates alike are drawing attention to the fact that the rules pertaining to maintenance and inspection vary wildly from state to state, with rides and operators in certain areas of the country subject to almost no official supervision.
Lack of regulatory uniformity cited by critics
While traveling ride operators do fall under the regulatory umbrella of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fixed-site parks and attractions were exempted by Congress from such supervision all the way back in 1981. As a result, state legislatures have been free to determine their own inspection and safety standards, with the results running the gamut from being quite stringent in some jurisdictions to extremely lax or virtually non-existent in others. Florida, for instance, has exempted Busch Gardens, Universal Studios and Walt Disney World from accident reporting requirements as well as mandatory incident investigations, making safety transparency for observers and guests an impossibility.
Consumer watchdogs suggest that the inherently dangerous nature of amusement rides and related activities requires broader, more uniform regulation, inspection and oversight. Considering the horrific injuries and deaths suffered in recent weeks, the calls for concerted action in this regard are almost certain to gain volume in the coming days.
Victims’ rights and amusement park operator liability
Nobody visits an amusement park or tourist attraction with the expectation of suffering a serious injury or worse. However, each year an alarming number of patrons are profoundly harmed during what should have been a day of fun and adventure. The days and weeks following an event of this type can be painful and confusing, and litigation may not feel like an immediate priority. Lawsuits related to amusement park injuries can be quite complex, involving areas of the law including premises liability, product liability and general negligence, and no victim should try to go it alone.
By enlisting the aid of engineers, medical experts, case investigators and others, a seasoned personal injury attorney can marshal the detailed evidence necessary to build persuasive legal arguments and fight for every dollar of compensation. The severity of harm so often sustained in amusement park accidents can lead to substantial financial awards which may include payment for lost wages, medical bills, pain, suffering, physical rehabilitation expenses and more.
Injury lawyers serving New York
Those who have been harmed by the negligence of others owe it to themselves and their loved ones to pursue justice and compensation from all responsible parties. If you have been injured while a guest at an amusement park or other attraction, the Sanders Firm stands ready to provide the aggressive legal advocacy and critical insights you deserve. For a no-cost initial consultation, contact us at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY.
- CNN, Amusement park safety under scrutiny after week of accidents, http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/14/us/national-amusement-parks-safety-facts/
- New York Daily News, The safety of summer thrills: Amusement park risks nearly impossible to know because of terrifying patchwork of state laws or almost no regulation, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/amusement-park-risks-impossible-article-1.2653335
- KMOV St. Louis, Girl scalped on carnival ride wants stricter laws for operators, http://www.kmov.com/story/32739442/girl-scalped-on-carnival-ride-wants-stricter-laws-for-operators
- NBC News, Greene County Fair Ferris Wheel Basket Flips, Injuring Three Kids, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/greene-county-fair-ferris-wheel-basket-flips-injuring-three-kids-n626056