Amusement Park Injury Factors and How NOT TO Turn Fun into Tragedy

The percentage of personal injury cases that have occurred in amusement parks and theme parks is much lower than most other personal injury related cases. However, amusement or theme park accidents can be extremely harmful and can result in fatality.

IAAPA and the National Safety Council (NSC) have carried out surveys of amusement ride injuries. They established a nationwide amusement ride injury reporting system for all facilities operating fixed-site, or permanently situated amusement rides in the United States. They produce a report each fall and analyze the previous year’s reporting data.

The statistics below are presented by the 2010 Fixed-Site Amusement Ride Injury Survey published in the fall of 2011.

  •  Approximately 290 million guests visit the 400 U.S. amusement parks annually and take 1.7 billion safe rides.
  • The chance of being seriously injured on a ride at a fixed-site park in the U.S. is 1 in 24 million.

  • 59 of the 1,207 ride-related injuries, or less than 5 percent, required some form of overnight treatment at a hospital.

 The 2010 Fixed-Site Amusement Ride Injury Survey presents the proportion of injuries by ride-type, U.S., 2003 – 2010

Figure 1 shows that the percentage of injuries by ride type varies every year. However, Family and Adult Rides compose the highest percent of injuries. 52.1% of the injuries in 2010 occurred on family and adult rides, 54.0% in 2009, 61.6% in 2008 and 58.0% in 2007. The number of injuries in 2010 was down except for 2004.

Roller coasters accounted for 35.9% of the injuries in 2010 which is more than in any other year except for 2004.

After increasing nearly 5% from 2008 to 2009, the proportion of injuries associated with children’s rides declined over 3% from 2009 to 2010.

What are the main factors that contribute in amusement park ride injuries?

Elvie Vinn, the author of the article entitled “Main Factors That Contribute In Amusement Park Ride Injuries”, enumerates the following factors:

  • Mechanical Failures, such as broken or missing components, safety features that do not function correctly, and unexpected detachment of rides and other structures. This factor leads to Product Liability injuries and sometimes to Wrongful Death.

  • Individual Behavior – Operators should never be Negligent and fail to check ride’s proper operation and likewise, visitors should obey rules to make sure that they will not be a threat to safety.

  • Design Errors and Dangerous Premises which include lack of lighting, broken stairs, gaps in pavement and parking lot conditions.

What should be done if an accident occurred?

William D. Kickham, an attorney and the author of the article entitled “Massachusetts Amusement Park Injuries: Top Tips on Staying Safe: Part Two of Two” suggests the same types of cautionary measures that one would employ in the aftermath of a car accident.

  • Take photos of the injured person with your cell phone or camera.

  • On a piece of paper, note the time, the ride, any witnesses, and the name of the operator ride.

  • If the injured person is put in a brace or carried on a stretcher, take pictures of that as well.

  • Speak to an experienced accident attorney who is familiar with all aspects of personal injury.

Who is responsible for the damages or injuries you suffered?

William D. Kickam claims that the owner or operator or management team who manages the amusement park is liable for the damages and injuries. The owners have a legal responsibility to make sure that their park is kept in a safe condition. Almost in all cases a liability insurance companies pay out damages. However, they do not pay out damages easily, so it is better to be represented by an amusement park injury lawyer who has an experience in his field of expertise.

How to avoid injuries at amusement parks?

The attorney William D. Kickham describes some tips on how to stay safe at amusement parks:

  • Ask your state inspections department for the park’s safety record, before you patronize the park.

  • Inspect the park.

  • Read the warning signs. All major rides have restrictions on a person’s age, height and weight. Do not ignore them, especially if you have a specific medical condition that the ride warns you about – for example, back problems, or are subject to seizures.

  • Assess the conduct of the ride operator. The operator should, at all times, be paying attention to the ride and its riders.

  • Assess the ride’s appearance. If the ride is rusty, poorly lit, or cluttered with litter, you should not risk your life on it.

  • Be alert of riders.

  • Don’t force children to go on rides if they are scared.

  • Adhere to the park rules – wear your seat belts, use the lap bars, chains and harnesses.

In conclusion, amusement and theme parks are fun, just be always cautious and do not get injured on the rides.