Summer. It’s the happiest time of the year. The weather is beautiful, the days are longer, and it’s one of the best times of the year to be with friends and family. As such, many families, teenagers, and even adults will visit an amusement park at some point during the season. Although a vast majority of trips to amusement parks go off without a hitch, there are times when people experience unfortunate incidents in these types of parks.
Injuries are More Common than You Think
According to data gathered by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, there are approximately 375 million visitors in theme parks and amusement parks across North America each year. Although these parks are a place of bliss, happiness, and nostalgia for a vast majority of visitors, there are actually more injuries in these parks than one might think.
In a comprehensive 20-year study (1990-2010) by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, researchers found that injuries on rides at amusement parks, carnivals, state fairs, and arcades were far too prevalent. The rides “included anything from coin-operated rides to Ferris wheels, carousels, bumper cars, roller coasters and any type of ride like that,” said Tracy Mehan, lead researcher of the study.
Over the 20 years of research, there were 92,885 children under the age of 18 that were treated in emergency rooms due to injuries cause by rides in parks, averaging to 4,423 injuries per year on rides, and that doesn’t even include data on adults. “Many of the injuries of these rides are over hard floors, and children are falling on a hard floor and are ending up with head injuries,” Mehan noted.
This is a problem locally as well. In August of 2016, a 3-year old boy was injured on a roller coaster. While riding with his brother, the young boy was ejected from his seat on the final turn of the ride, causing him to be hospitalized and the third serious ride-related injury of that week in Pennsylvania alone.
Pursuing Legal Action Against an Amusement Park
Although it can be difficult to pursue legal action against an amusement park, you do have a few different options in the event of an injury. Before you even contact an attorney, make sure to do the following:
- Collect all evidence that you can
- Get the medical attention that you need
- Document all losses incurred because of the injury, including lost wages, missed opportunities, etc.
- Keep track of all paperwork from doctors’ visits, insurance, etc.
- Stay silent about the case. Do not talk to anyone about it.
What it All Means
Your case essentially will come down to proving that the amusement park is responsible for one of the following:
- Negligence: The amusement park can be found liable if you can prove that they neglected to take care of their responsibilities in ensuring that rides were safe, all codes were met, and that employees took all proper precautions.
- Product Liability: In the case of product liability, you must prove that there was a problem with the ride that could not have been prevented no matter what precautionary measures were taken. You must show that the designer could have created the ride in a way that would have prevented injury.
- Premises Liability: It is the park owner’s responsibility to ensure that the park is laid out in such a way that keeps visitors safe. You must prove that the park owner has failed to do so.
- Wrongful Death: In the unfortunate case of a wrongful death in an amusement park, the park can be held liable for all damages. Recent cases have been awarded over one million dollars in damages.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
In the event that you or someone that you know has been injured at an amusement park, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact the law office of Solnick & Associates, LLC at (215) 512-0039 to speak with a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney today.