What should be a fun, family day at an amusement park can turn into a tragedy if park operators and ride manufacturers decide to ignore safety policies and procedures designed to protect children and other members of the public.
Amusement Park Safety Standards
Amusement park operators and ride manufacturers must comport with various safety standards to protect members of the public from serious injury or death. For instance, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has adopted several standards that amusement park operators and manufacturers must follow to promote safety in the designing of roller coasters and amusement park rides, in the safety testing of those rides, in the safe operation of amusement parks, and in the inspection and maintenance of those rides.
Other governmental entities have similar safety requirements.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) keeps track of the number of emergency department treated injuries associated with amusement park rides, including fixed rides in theme parks and mobile rides associated carnivals and fairs. The numbers are astounding:
According to the CPSC, between 1990 and 2000, over 80,000 children under the age of 18 suffered serious injuries from amusement park rides, resulting in hospitalizations. Most injuries were to the head and neck, arms, legs or face. An additional 11,000 children were injured on rides located in malls, arcades, or at fairs.
Similarly, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System’s estimate of emergency department visits related to injuries sustained in amusement park rides in 2011 was 23,785. This estimate was extrapolated from a sample set of hospitals queried.
Cause of Amusement Park-Related Injuries
The reported injuries were often caused by children falling on or off the ride due to improper restraints or protective padding. These incidents of children falling off amusement park rides can obviously be devastating, especially when this occurs at significant heights.
According to the CPSC, these injuries are commonly caused by operator negligence, product defects involving the ride itself, and failure to properly inspect the ride for safety.
In other words, most instances of serious injury or death at amusement parks are preventable with proper safety precautions and inspections of management and ride manufacturers. Once a proper investigation is conducted following a tragic amusement park-related injury or death, it is often discovered that the amusement park operators or ride manufacturers have violated several laws, rules, policies or procedures designed to prevent the exact situation that occurred.
Which is why it is critical to contact an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible to begin such an investigation on your behalf. If you suspect that a serious injury or death occurred at an amusement park due to operator negligence or failure of the owners or ride manufacturers to maintain and adequately inspect the rides, call Passen & Powell at 312-527-4500 for a free consultation.