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Amusement Park Injury Lawyer

Injuries at an amusement park automatically bring to mind roller-coaster malfunctions. And while those accidents do happen, some of the most benign-appearing rides can pose some of the greatest risks. Recent reports have stated, ironically, the number-one ride on which people are injured in an amusement park is the merry-go-round.

At the same time, one would believe the majority of injuries occur at large fixed-site theme parks, since they have the highest attendance in any given year. But that wasn’t found to be accurate, according to reports. More accidents happen at smaller venues than at larger ones. More surprisingly, many injuries were not the fault of the ride itself but ingress and egress of the ride. In fact, nearly a third of all injuries, reports say, are caused by falling while getting in or out of the ride. Much of that goes to improperly designed, manufactured, set up, inspected, maintained or operated, rides.

The ride one would think was the most dangerous – the Roller coasters – was responsible for only 10 percent of injuries. Bumper cars, which were in the minds of many reviewing the study, only comprised about 5%. But nearly one-in-five injuries were suffered on the merry-go-round.

Amusement park accidents are typically treated as personal injuries. But they aren’t the only heading under which those type injuries fall. Product liability or premises liability can also be the cause of an amusement park injury.

But, like any injury, the contributing factors can be as varied as the injuries themselves.

The most common types of injuries include:

  • Head Injuries
  • Arm or Leg Injuries
  • Lower and Upper Back
  • Neck Injuries
  • Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis
  • Dislocated Hips
  • Broken Bones
  • Severed Fingers or Toes
  • Punctured Vital Organs
  • Food Poisoning

Head Injuries

The most obvious long-term injuries are to the skull and brain. In the event of a stalled ride, or a ride that comes off its path of travel, or one that stops suddenly, passengers are often flung into hard objects. If restraints are not tight against the rider’s body, the result can be devastating. In addition, not only is the risk of injury always present, most preventative features – such as helmets — are not mandatory for riders, leaving any malfunction almost the cause of an injury.

Arm or Leg Injuries

Keeping arms and legs inside the ride is always good advice. But what if that isn’t possible? What if, through no fault of the rider – like, say, a sudden stop or some other type of ride malfunction – an arm is catapulted outside the confines of the ride? Most rides are built in real-estate-poor areas, where space is at a premium. Any other structure, such as a fence, a gate, handrails or other protective barriers are now clubs and guillotines; and arms and legs can be seriously injured or lost as a result.

Lower and Upper Back Injuries

Sudden stops, sudden starts, sudden turns. It’s what roller coaster are all about. But there’s a difference between ‘sudden’ and ‘violent.’ A machine that stops in an instant is no longer a ride, but a torture chamber. Arms, legs and skull are the kinetic energy releases. And all are attached to the spine and back, which then has to contort to keep those appendages in place. The result, unfortunately, is often major back injury.

Neck Injuries

In a sudden stop, the energy of travel at even ten miles an hour can be three to four times gravity. Energy has to go somewhere, and it concentrates itself in the few appendages that aren’t strapped in – arms, legs and head. Arms and legs can be seriously injured, but the head is a heavy object that now weighs five times what it did at rest. That kind of weight – flung forward like a bullwhip – can do extensive damage on the neck. That damage can last a lifetime.

Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis

With lasting physical, emotional and financial consequences, spinal cord injuries often occur as a direct result of serious injuries in accidents involving vehicles or conveyances – such as can be found at amusement parks. Victims can suffer anything from partial paralysis of a limb or limbs, where work and quality of life are affected, but much of their major function can still be completed; or they can become completely paralyzed, where there is no feeling or movement on either side of the body and even eating takes an assistant. Obviously, in each situation there’s a financial loss and emotional suffering attached. Medical costs, including physical therapy, surgery, medication and skilled nursing can be financially devastating.

Dislocated Shoulders and Hips

Falls while exiting or entering a ride, sudden stops, or falls from a ride can all be causes of extreme injury – often involving the torso and, specifically, the pelvis and hips. A broken hip is not only largely impossible to set, but increases the likelihood of severe pain as an individual ages. Since the bones are often prevented from healing together correctly, the injury therefore eventually affects the back, the legs, the spine, and the neck and head.

Broken Bones

Something as simple as a restraint not properly secured can easily make the body into a weight and lever situation, with a sudden stop at the energy needed to crack bone and tear muscle. Broken bones and torn flesh mend, but compound fractures can leave a victim incapacitated for life – not to mention the mental anguish he or she has to deal with.

Severed Fingers or Toes

Digits wedged into places they shouldn’t be in fast moving machines can cause the loss of fingers and toes. That can mean having a ride cut them off; or it can mean a sudden stop pulls the body one way while the toes or fingers remained jammed in restraints. Either way, the result is a severe and unfortunate change of one’s quality of life.

Punctured Vital Organs

Lungs, kidneys, heart, spleen, liver and stomach are all at risk should a ride fail and toss riders onto pavement or into other hard, blunt or sharp immovable objects. Some injuries can cause death immediately, but some take toll in later years, invaliding even the heartiest of people.

Food Poisoning

The deep-fried Twinkies or the turkey legs look great, but are they safe to eat? Amusement park venues are governed by the same laws and regulations that general restaurant businesses use, but sometimes, depending on the venue, the inspections are less stringent. Eating the deep fried Twinkie fried in bad oil or a drumstick with salmonella will ruin more than one day at the park. For some, it can be a death sentence.

Why Hire an Amusement Park Accident Lawyer

If you or your loved one has suffered an injury while at an amusement park or other recreational venue, contact our offices for a free case evaluation.

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