Well, it's official. As I was driving into work this morning I saw the first sign of the year for a neighborhood carnival. With the warmer weather creeping into the northeast, millions of Americans will soon be making trips to carnivals, amusement parks, theme parks, state fairs, or amusement resorts. While all of these rides are suppose to entertain or thrill us, they can lead to catastrophic injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries or even death if not properly maintained or operated.
According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), there were 1,086 ride-related injuries in the United States in the year 2009. However, the IAAPA statistics include only injuries that occurred only on fixed-site amusement rides, such as those found at permanent parks like Disney World or the Six Flags parks. The rides at county fairs and local carnivals are not watched or regulated as closely so it is unknown how many injuries or deaths occur at these temporary amusement parks or traveling carnivals. One has to keep in the back of their mind that the rides that are quickly put up or taken down within a day may not be maintained nearly as well as the amusement rides you will find at the larger, more established amusements parks. But, that does not mean that permanent park amusements rides are free from defects or operator error that can lead to permanent injuries or even death to a rider.
In just the past six months or so, these were some of the accidents or injuries that occurred at amusement parks or boardwalk piers:
- Part of a Bonzai ride broke apart, sending metal fragment debris flying, causing cuts, lacerations and injuries to riders
- A three-year-old girl was ejected from a ride and suffered a brain injury after falling to the ground
- A four-year-old boy suffered serious injuries after being pinned under a ride because the operator started the ride while children were exiting the ride
- Five people on Morey's Mariner's Landing Pier in Wildwood New Jersey were injured when a piece of the pirate ship themed ride, called the Sea Dragon, broke off and struck the riders
- A young girl fell to her death from one of the highest Ferris Wheel's on the East Coast
Not only can a product defect or safety regulation cause injury to riders, so can the ride operator. In just August 2011 alone, two ride operators where charged with reckless endangerment after one operator was working while under the influence of marijuana and the other operator was legally drunk. Operator error can also happen when they are distracted with cell phone calls or text messages while they are supposed to be making sure that all of the riders are safe.
Here at the nationally known Beasley Law Firm, our experienced amusement ride accident lawyers are currently working on cases of amusement park accidents or deaths caused by roller coasters, Ferris wheels and other park rides that occurred in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, and surrounding areas. If you or a loved one has been injured on a ride, do not sign any legal waivers until you speak with an experienced theme park, carnival, or amusement park lawyer. Please feel free to contact us online or at (215) 866-2424 to speak with a member of our amusement ride injury team for a strictly confidential and free consultation.