Accidents at amusement parks are more common than people often realize: for example, just recently, three girls were injured by a faulty Ferris wheel, leaving one of them in critical condition. In fact, every year, amusement parks around the country attract millions of visitors, injuring thousands, and even leading to the wrongful death of a few.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first incident for this particular company, Family Attractions Amusement Co.: in 2013, five people suffered severe injuries at a different State Fair on one of its rides, leading to the company being fined close to $60,000 for alleged willful violations of safety. It was also sued by the family of one of the injured victims.
What surprised many about this most recent incident is that, within a week, the state decided to renew the permit for the company allegedly responsible, allowing them to operate their rides at the next County Fair, starting within a few days.
The Incident: Permit Renewal Could Foreshadow Litigation
According to the state inspection report, after the car the girls were riding in turned over, one of them plunged more than 30 feet simply due to the ride’s damaged rivets. The incident has left her, at the young age of six, with a traumatic brain injury.
As a result of this permit renewal, not only could the company be sued again if someone is injured, but the state could also be joined in a lawsuit for deciding to renew the permit in light of this company’s record of injuries.
A National Problem
Within the same week as this incident, there were at least four major injuries at amusement parks nationwide, including the deadly decapitation of a 10 year-old boy.
Although amusement parks have a duty to keep their patrons safe and can be sued for damages if they fail to do so as a result of negligent or intentional behavior, as a result of these recent incidents, many have remarked that it is inappropriate in this day and age that no specific federal agency oversees the amusement park industry as a whole. In many states, rides like these only need to be inspected once per year, and the inspector is hired by the amusement park, which is, arguably, a conflict of interest. For example, in Rhode Island, the Amusement Ride Safety Act requires this inspection once a year. Although once charged with oversight of the parks, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission hasn’t had the authority to step in and regulate the industry in 35 years, since Congress stripped the agency of the power.
Personal Injury/Accident Attorneys Who Care
If you or a loved one has been injured at an amusement park or on a ride, talk to one of our skilled personal injury attorneys in RI. A lawsuit handled by our firm helps our clients regain the financial stability they need to ensure that they are taken care of. With our no cost guarantee, you will not pay a dime unless we are able to recover compensation for you. Contact us today.