Amusement Park Personal Injury Lawyers
A day at the amusement park is supposed to be a fun outing with your family
or friends. Unfortunately, not all of these trips end with happy memories.
When compared to the number of people who visit these parks over the course
of a year, injuries are fairly uncommon, but those that do occur can be
devastating. Getting hurt on a ride today could mean years of medical
problems in the future, missed time at work, lost wages and distress for
you and your family.
Injuries from rides, games, poorly kept grounds and other hazards don’t
only occur at amusement parks. Visiting any recreational venue carries
some measure of risk. While amusement parks and theme parks are the most
obvious places for potential dangers to be found, hazards may also be
• State or county fairs and carnivals
• Water parks
• Zoos and aquariums
• Ball pits
• Go-kart tracks
• Birthday party venues, including those with inflatable rides
• Kids’ play areas at malls
When you visit one of these venues, you expect that the managers and ride
manufacturers have taken precautions to ensure the safety of their patrons.
However, with everyone trying to offer the “next big thing”
in the form of rides and attractions that are faster, taller and more
daring than what competitors have, proper protocols aren’t always
followed. Oversights can lead to anything from a simple slip and fall
incident to the death of one or more people.
In most cases, the venue or the manufacturers of the unsafe ride are liable
for any damage caused by accidents. Understanding the most common types
of injuries, how to determine liability and what to do if you feel you
have a legitimate case will help you get the compensation you deserve.
Types of Amusement Park Injuries
Many amusement park and carnival rides involve fast speeds, sudden turns,
prolonged spinning or extreme heights. These are normal parts of the “thrill”
that draws crowds, but those same thrills can quickly turn into tragedies
if something goes wrong.
One or more factors may result in a ride or attraction becoming unsafe.
Negligence on the part of the ride operator or the park’s managers
is one of the most common causes. This may include poor ride maintenance,
improper operation, inadequate training or failure to alert riders to
special safety restrictions. It’s also possible for ride operators
to make mistakes even if they are usually diligent in their jobs. Manufacturer’s
errors or defects in the machinery can cause rides to stop or fail without
warning regardless of how well they’re operated. Such defects are
more likely in new attractions that have been rushed to market without
enough prior testing.
Any of these elements can create conditions that put you at risk for:
• Head, neck or back injuries, including whiplash
• Broken bones
• Cuts, bruises or connective tissue injuries
• Superficial or life-threatening puncture wounds
• Spinal injuries or paralysis
• Joint dislocation
• Trauma resulting in aneurysms, strokes or other
• Injured or amputated extremities
• Drowning on water rides
• Death from falling or being thrown
You may even be at risk for food poisoning when visiting a park or carnival
if one of the iconic treats you try is contaminated or improperly prepared.
Injury Facts and Statistics
The equipment used at amusement parks and other venues is generally regarded
as safe. By installing and operating the equipment, both the manufacturer
and the park are agreeing that they deem it to be free from defects. If
problems are discovered but not fixed, anyone who is injured by the ride
in question has a case against the parties involved.
According to a 2006 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), 8,800 people went to the emergency room that year for injuries
sustained at amusement parks. An additional 3,100 were injured on water
slides, and inflatable attractions caused 3,600 more incidents. Children
accounted for around half of all injuries.
On average, about 4.5 deaths per year occurred from amusement park accidents
between 1987 and 2000, although the numbers declined slightly in subsequent
years. Fatalities break down between rides to show that:
• Roller coasters cause 27.6 percent of deaths
• 20.7 percent occur on Ferris wheels and other elevated rides
• Water rides are responsible for 15.3 percent
• 13.6 percent of deaths can be attributed to spinning rides
Some reports indicate that the least violent rides, such as merry-go-rounds,
cause the highest number of total injuries and that more injuries occur
at smaller venues. Since the rides at carnivals and fairs are set up and
taken down repeatedly over the years, it may be possible that the risk
for defects is greater at these sites. Since these types of accidents
are often under-reported, it’s hard to know for sure where the most
Any venue that invites the public to enjoy special attractions has a duty
to maintain the proper safety of its equipment and grounds. Two types
of liability laws cover these duties: product liability and premises liability.
Product liability is the legal term for the acknowledgement that any products
or equipment used at an amusement park are safe and in good working order.
Failure to maintain this safety makes either the park or the manufacturer
liable for any resulting problems.
Premises liability refers to the guarantee that you’ll be safe walking
from one attraction to another and that any potential hazards will be
clearly labeled. Any dangerous areas that aren’t noted with appropriate
signs or barriers could cause injuries that the park is at fault for.
In some cases, however, visitors are the ones responsible for their own
injuries. If you don’t listen to a ride operator’s instructions,
ignore posted safety risks or act in a reckless manner, you won’t
be able to claim that another party caused any subsequent accidents. Always
behave responsibly to ensure that you’re doing all you can to keep
yourself and everyone around you safe.
Amusement Park Injury Claims
To prove that a venue or a ride manufacturer is liable for your injury,
it’s necessary to report the incident right away. Going on with
your day assuming that the pain from being thrown against a barrier during
a sudden stop will go away or that the cut on your leg from falling off
a broken step will heal without a problem leaves you with little recourse
should the condition worsen at a later time.
If you sustain an injury on a ride or as the result of poor park maintenance,
take the following steps:
• Immediately report the problem to the ride operator or a park manager.
• Take photos of your injury and the defective part or ride that caused it.
• Talk to eyewitnesses who can validate what happened.
• Document these interviews with audio or video.
• Take advantage of the medical care offered by park paramedics, or
ask someone to call 911 if necessary.
• Obtain detailed medical reports, including any expected need of
• Hold on to all of your medical bills.
• Keep records of time missed and wages lost at work.
• Contact a lawyer with experience in handlingpersonal injury cases.
If an insurance company representative or legal counsel for the other parties
involved contacts you, direct them to speak with your lawyer. Both the
insurance company and the park are likely to be looking for a quick settlement
to avoid negative publicity. However, these settlements are often too
small to cover the expenses related to your injury. Let your lawyer use
his or her connections to ensure that the situation is fully investigated
so that you can get the money you’re entitled to.
Settlements and Compensation for Injuries
Keeping clear documentation shows exactly how much you’re spending
or losing as a result of getting hurt at a recreational venue. Your lawyer
will use these and other documents to help work out a settlement. If this
isn’t possible, the case may go to court.
This is when having an experienced lawyer on your side becomes even more
important. Winning a court case requires solid knowledge of the laws involved
and the ability to apply those laws to your particular situation. Having
trustworthy legal counsel makes it possible to build a case against the
park or equipment manufacturer and present all the relevant facts to prove
that you should be given compensation. If recklessness or negligence made
the situation worse, you may also be entitled to punitive damages above
and beyond other related expenses.
The lawyers at Doan Law Firm have decades of experience in handling amusement
park injury lawsuits. A team of experts headed by Jimmy Doan is ready
to hear your side of the story and determine the best way to move forward
with your case.
The Doan Law Firm lawyers know how to navigate the necessary legalities to get you the best
settlement possible.Contact one of our experienced lawyers any time, day or night, for a free consultation
at (800) 349-0000.