Many times when we enter an amusement park or other large facility we tend to think that we are safe and that injury cannot occur. Perhaps the suspension of disbelief brought about by the re-creation of fantastical and magical worlds hinders our appreciation of risk. Maybe it is the simple adrenaline of looking forward to a thrill-packed day. Maybe it could be the fact that you pay an admission fee and therefore expect to be protected by the park, its employees and safety system.
However, accidents and their resultant injuries can and do occur at major theme parks like Dorney Park, national and regional amusement parks, and local fairs and carnivals.
Safety Regulations May Not Protect You or Your Family From Harm
Perhaps the reason that many people assume amusement parks to be safe is that they expect the park to be regulated and subject to frequent inspections. Unfortunately, however, this is not how theme parks and amusement parks are regulated in the United States. In short, there are no blanket federal standards or a single agency under which safety standards are applied or enforced. Instead, a patchwork of federal and state agencies handle regulatory affairs. While the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates portable rides, it has no jurisdiction over fixed attractions like those found at most major theme and amusement parks.
Why Do Accidents Occur at Theme Parks?
Accidents can occur for a myriad of reasons at a park of any size. However certain reasons for accident or injury are more common than others. Common reasons for serious bodily injury include:
- Mechanical problems – Improper maintenance, harsh operating conditions and other factors can contribute to or cause mechanical failure. If an attraction fails when there are riders or spectators present, serious injury or death can occur.
- Weather event – Poor weather conditions including rain, lightning, high winds and more can significantly increase the likelihood of injury. Adverse weather conditions may cause unintended operation, damage the attraction due to wind or debris,
- Operator error – Ride operators often work long hours in the exhausting summer heat. Some parks utilize temporary employees who work for near-minimum wage. Under such conditions, one can understand
- Nature of the ride – Some rides are, by nature, violent. However, sometimes negligence or other actions can increase the risk of injury even further.
- Insufficient safety precautions – Insufficient safety precautions can include the failure to provide a safety system, failure to provide a sufficient system, or inadequate response plans to a crisis. For example, an inadequate safety system could be providing only a lap bar when a seat belt and shoulder harness were necessary. Similarly, failure to check a roller coaster track for debris prior to a vehicle launch could be an example of insufficient safety procedures.
The above captures only a representative sample of reasons for accidents at amusement parks. If you have been injured at an amusement park, do not delay in seeking a lawyer. If you have a claim that is likely to be meritorious, the park is likely to offer a settlement before you can fairly assess its value. Working with an experienced Social Security disability attorney can provide guidance and increase the likelihood that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact experienced amusement park accident attorneys Reiff & Bily today by calling (215) 274-0072 or contact us online. We offer free and confidential initial consultations.