We all love a day out at an amusement park, whether you’re a young family enjoying introducing small children to the fun of the fair or a group of friends ready to take on the biggest and fastest roller coasters. There’s a lot of fun and excitement to be had and most people will have a brilliant time and go home happy.
But theme park accidents do happen. So what do you do if you sustain an injury at an amusement park? What potential causes of injuries are there and how should you proceed should the worst happen and you want to make a claim for compensation? In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common types of amusement park injuries, where the responsibility lies and how we can help you make a claim if you need to.
Common causes of amusement park injuries
Injuries can occur at an amusement park for all manner of reasons, from broken-down roller coaster accidents to tripping over a loose paving slab on the way to the toilet. It’s important to understand the most common causes so that they can be addressed.
- From brake failures to electrical malfunctions, mechanical failures are always a risk with amusement park rides.
- In some cases, accidents occur due to operator error, such as failing to secure safety restraints properly, not following ride protocols or failing to stop the ride when necessary.
- As focused as the park may be on safety, it relies on visitors following instructions and behaving sensibly. Reckless behaviour, such as standing up on a moving ride, can result in theme park accidents.
- It’s not just the rides that are risky – general park maintenance is important too to prevent trips or falls. This could be small things like uneven flooring, poor signage or spills.
- Some injuries result from inherent design flaws in rides or park facilities, leading to dangerous situations.
Liability and responsibility
If you’re involved in an amusement park injury, the most important thing you can do is to establish liability. It’s not as simple as just saying the park owners are responsible for all injuries that occur – there are lots of factors at play.
There are four key people/organisations that play a part:
- The park management has overall responsibility for amusement park safety. They’re not only responsible for regular safety checks and maintenance, but also for making sure there’s adequate insurance in place to be able to compensate people should accidents happen.
- Also within the park structure, the individual ride operators have a responsibility. If an operator failed to make sure everyone was strapped in properly for example, they could be liable for any injuries sustained as a result.
- As an amusement park visitor, you have to be serious about your own safety. You can’t behave dangerously on a ride or blatantly disregard safety protocols and then blame the park if something goes wrong.
- There are also third-party responsibilities – external maintenance providers for example, or manufacturers of rides or equipment.
Legal recourse for injured visitors
If you’ve been injured at an amusement park in Ireland, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. This doesn’t just include personal injury claims – there are a few different ways your claim could go. We’re here to help you understand your options, but here are some of the different types of claim you might be looking at:
- A personal injury claim for medical expenses, pain or lost wages due to an injury.
- A product liability claim if your injury was caused by faulty equipment.
- A negligence claim if the park owners failed to train staff properly or maintain the park.
- A premises liability claim if you slip or fall due to inadequate maintenance.
Safety measures and standards
Serious theme park accidents are not common, but they do happen, and it’s vital that everyone involved is aware of what the risks are and how to mitigate them. Understanding responsibilities and accountability for the implementation of safety measures will be important for you if you go on to make a claim – and for us when we assist you.
Amusement park owners and managers need to conduct regular maintenance and thorough inspections to identify and address potential issues with rides and facilities. Ride operators must be adequately trained to ensure visitor safety and understand emergency procedures and there should be strict safety protocols for visitors, including clear instructions for securing restraints, staying seated, and following ride rules.
Types of amusement park injuries
Theme park accidents can occur in many forms, from a simple trip on an exposed cable to something serious like a head injury. Whatever your injury, there could be scope for a claim depending on how serious it is and how the injury impacts your life. Our compensation estimator may help you get an idea of this and the amount you could be owed, but here let’s take a look at some of the most common injuries seen in amusement parks:
- Whiplash caused by sudden jerks and movements on rides.
- Falls or accidents on rides can result in broken bones.
- Head injuries can occur due to impact or sudden stops on certain rides, potentially causing concussions or more severe trauma.
- Visitors may suffer cuts and abrasions from sharp edges or foreign objects.
- Sudden movements on rides can lead to sprains and strains.
- Some people may experience emotional trauma, such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, following a frightening incident at an amusement park.
Preventing amusement park accidents
For amusement park owners, safety is paramount. Working with reputable suppliers and manufacturers is key, as you need to be sure that your rides are designed and produced well and to strict safety guidelines. Maintenance is then very important to keep rides in good working order.
As a visitor, there are things that you can do to keep yourself safe. First up, opt for theme parks with good reputations and reviews. A permanent, well-established park that welcomes thousands of visitors a year is likely to be a safer environment than a travelling fair run by just a handful of people. Always follow the safety rules and listen to the ride operators – the rules are there for a reason.
Why choose McGinley Solicitors LLP?
We have years of experience in supporting clients with all kinds of personal injury claims, including theme park accidents. We have a team of experts who are not just knowledgeable but also sympathetic – we want to support you through your journey, practically but emotionally, too. We take a personalised approach to each case, tailoring our legal strategy to your specific situation and needs.
Our strong track record means you can feel safe in our hands.
What are amusement park injuries?
Amusement park injuries include any injury you sustain while at a range of amusement parks, including fairgrounds and water parks. The injury could be anything from a minor cut through to more serious injuries such as broken bones or even, in the most tragic cases, death. Amusement park injuries don’t just happen on rides – you could sustain an injury standing in a queue or walking around the park.
How common are amusement park injuries?
Fortunately, serious amusement park injuries are not very common. Due to the nature of parks like this, which include large and potentially dangerous rides, customer safety is a high priority and that means rides are subject to stringent checks and reviews on a regular basis. While not common, they do happen, and it’s important as a visitor to pay attention to safety notices and behave in a responsible way.
What are the leading causes of amusement park injuries?
Amusement park injuries can be caused by a range of factors, including mechanical failure, operator error, poor maintenance or design flaws in the rides. It’s important to remember too that amusement park accidents can also be caused by visitors – improper behaviour on rides for example and not following safety procedures can lead to injuries.
Are amusement park injuries more common on specific types of rides?
Yes, by their very nature there are certain types of ride that have more risk attached to them. While there can be operator error or mechanical failure on any kind of ride, the impact of that when you’re upside down during a roller coaster accident could be more serious than a gentler ride.
Who is responsible for ensuring the safety of amusement park visitors?
The ultimate responsibility for amusement park safety lands with the owners and managers of the park and it’s up to them to make sure that rides are maintained, staff are well trained and all safety checks are carried out properly and in a timely manner. But park staff, particularly ride operators, have their part to play in keeping people on their rides safe by checking belts and harnesses and making sure the ride is used properly. And there’s an element of personal responsibility – park owners can only do so much and it comes down to visitors to make sure they take the risks seriously and follow instructions carefully.
How can I prove liability in an amusement park injury case?
Proving liability in an amusement park injury case means collecting as much evidence as you can at the time of the accident. This could include witness accounts, medical reports and photos of injuries and the accident site. After the accident you may need to gather extra information to back up your claim like maintenance logs and inspection reports. Contact us at McGinley Solicitors LLP and we can help you gather the necessary evidence and navigate the legal process to establish liability.
Can I file a personal injury claim for an amusement park injury?
Yes, you can file a personal injury claim if you’ve been injured at an amusement park due to someone else’s negligence or a lack of safety measures. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.
Are amusement park injuries covered by insurance?
Yes, amusement parks usually carry liability insurance to cover accidents and injuries that occur on their premises and this insurance can be used to compensate injured parties. There are quite a few niche insurance policies designed specifically for amusement parks and their rides and workers.
Are water park injuries different from injuries on dry land rides?
Water park injuries can be different from dry-land rides because, as you’d expect, of the presence of water. Slip and fall accidents are more common at water parks for example, plus there’s the risk of water slide mishaps and incidents involving wave pools or lazy rivers, specifically drowning or water-related trauma. The principles of safety, liability and legal recourse for water park injuries are similar to those for dry-land rides.