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A General Word on Ride Accidents

By Allen Flatt Ballidis & Leslie on October 14, 2019

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It doesn’t matter if you are riding Thunder Mountain at Disneyland or a Tilt-A-Whirl at a local fair; accidents happen from time to time. While massive amusement parks like Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm have an entire staff of people making sure the rides are operating safely and efficiently, places like the OC Fair and Balboa Fun Zone do not have the same resources to dedicate to the safety of their rides.

Here at Allen Flatt Ballidis & Leslie, our OC personal injury lawyers understand that an accident on a theme park ride can happen at any moment, and for various reasons. That’s why we want to go over common ways rides can cause injuries, and steps that you and your family can take to avoid being injured at fairs and theme parks while enjoying the attractions.

Common Causes of Ride Accidents

Despite the most advanced safety precautions, people can still be severely injured or killed while on amusement park and carnival rides. Common causes of ride accidents include:

  • Malfunctioning safety belts and/or harnesses
  • Negligent maintenance of the ride’s tracks and mechanisms
  • Negligent engineering or design
  • Cart derailment
  • Broken carts and/or passenger cabs
  • Negligent operation of the roller coaster
  • Flying debris on or near the ride hitting passengers, or damaging the ride

Ways to Stay Safe in or Around Amusement Park Rides

Some theme park accidents are unavoidable. However, there are steps that individuals can take to reduce their chances of being injured on a ride:

  • Do not get on a ride if you have an injury that you are dealing with. The aggressive herky-jerky nature of the rides can exacerbate an already-present injury.
  • Keep your limbs within the safe boundaries of the passenger cabin to reduce the chances of injuring one of your limbs. Various rides are designed to restrict movement to prevent passengers from getting hurt.
  • Do not take items that you might lose from your possession with you on a ride. Those belongings might be dangerous to you or others if they escape your grasp at a high speed.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings. Pay attention to each of the speed changes and obstacles that may be coming your way while on a ride.
  • Make certain you only go where you are meant to go and stay out of areas meant for operators and maintenance workers.

Who Can Be Held Responsible If an Injury Occurs?

Because there are so many moving parts on a ride, many things can go wrong, and there are various parties that can be held responsible for a victim’s injuries. That includes, but is not limited to:

  • The Owner of the Park or Property When the grounds of an amusement park or fairground are not properly maintained or kept in a way that prevents clear or obvious hazards, then the owner can be held responsible under premises liability law. Property owners of all kinds are required to maintain their property in a way that helps avoid injury and keeps paying patrons safe.
  • The Manufacturer of the Ride- If an injury occurs on a ride as the result of a defect with a piece of equipment or a flaw in the ride’s design, then the parties responsible for the design and manufacture of the ride can be held responsible.
  • The Ride Operation Staff- If the root cause of an injury aboard a ride is linked to an error made by the staff responsible for the operation of the ride, those staff members (and likely, their employer) can be held legally responsible for the damages they caused because of their negligence.

If you or a loved one has been hurt on a ride at an amusement park or county fair, then you have a right to seek legal compensation. The legal team at Allen Flatt Ballidis & Leslie has had 40 years’ experience fighting for the rights of injury victims across Orange County. Call our Newport Beach office at (949) 752-7474 for a free, no-obligation consultation and see what our first-class team can do for you.

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