One great way to beat the summer heat here in South Carolina is to hit some amusement parks, local fairs, or water parks. Whether you’re visiting South Carolina or a local looking to visit popular parks like Family Kingdom Amusement Park or O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park, theme and water parks are a fun option for a family day out.
When rides are properly maintained and supervised, amusement parks can be thrilling and exhilarating. However, every year we hear about a tragic situation on an amusement park ride that results in injury or death. Many times these accidents occur when a ride malfunctions or safety equipment fails. When this happens, victims may have a premises liability case.
Causes of amusement park ride accidents
Amusement and water park rides cause approximately 30,000 injuries per year. However, these are only reported injuries, and data from traveling amusement parks—like carnivals and fairs—aren’t counted in these numbers. It is likely that the actual number of injuries is much higher.
When passengers suffer injury (or death) in an amusement park ride accident, it could be caused by negligence. Common examples of negligence include:
- Defective ride design. Even the smallest design flaw can cause a tragic accident. Perhaps the ride was designed in a way that provided easy access to ride controls, allowing another passenger to manipulate the controls. Or, a piece of hardware may have a design flaw and snap. We’ve all also heard of safety restraints or latches breaking while a ride is in motion.
- Mechanical and technical failures. Technical or mechanical problems with a ride can cause it to behave unexpectedly and cause accidents—a computer glitch, faulty brakes, a broken piece of track, or an electrical failure can put every rider at great risk.
- Poor maintenance. Park and fair rides have a lot of moving parts and carry a lot of people. It’s crucial regular inspections and maintenance are performed, or rides should be put out of service. Fair and park rides should be consistently checked for broken pins and chains, loose or corroded parts, and worn or missing areas of track, and repair or replace them before the ride is allowed to operate again.
- Inattention. A ride operator who is distracted by his or her phone, or by the patrons or other workers, can make mistakes that cost lives. Operator errors, inadequate supervision or poor training can all lead to a park employee making a mistake that results in catastrophic injuries.
Common amusement park injuries
Accidents in amusement parks can be very serious, and in many cases lead to permanent injury or death. Common carnival ride and amusement park injuries include:
- Neck and back injuries from being tossed around on a rough ride
- Being thrown off/from a ride
- Falling from a ride
- Suffering a stroke due to injuries in the ligaments of the neck
- Broken or fractured bones
- Cuts, bruises, or lacerations
- Brain injuries from rapid speed and G-forces
- Waterpark drownings
The companies that own amusement and water parks, and fairs and carnivals, have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for their visitors. If their rides or attractions are unsafe or defective, serious injury to park visitors can result.
At McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC, our lawyers can help you if you are injured at a South Carolina amusement park. We thoroughly investigate the incident, bring in experts, and find out exactly who or what was responsible for your injury. When a defective part or product caused your injury or the death of a loved one, we will work to ensure it never happens to another person and seek maximum compensation for your losses. Call us today at 803-327-7800 or complete our contact form.
Randy is the former President of the South Carolina Association for Justice. He has been certified by the American Board of Professional Liability as a specialist in Medical Malpractice Law which is recognized by the South Carolina Bar. Randy has also been awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” 10 times in the last decade. He has over 25 years of experience helping injured people fight back against corporations, hospitals and wrong-doers.
Read more about S. Randall Hood