Carnivals are a popular diversion. In the United States, an estimated 500 million people visit carnivals, fairs, and festivals every year. Carnivals often move from one location to another. The workers deconstruct and reconstruct the rides and stands when traveling around.
Unfortunately, some carnival rides can have defects, resulting in serious injuries and impacts to riders. If you’ve been in a carnival ride accident, you could be entitled to compensation.
How Many Carnival Ride Accidents Occur Each Year?
Like amusement parks and fairs, carnivals ensure the rides are safe to go on. As the employees are putting them together, inspectors observe their work. The inspections help make sure the carnival rides meet manufacturer requirements. They check for disrepair or defects and proper installation of rides.
Inspections surely help lower the chance of injuries. However, despite these efforts, a surprising number of carnival ride accidents still occur. In one year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 30,900 people were injured by amusement park attractions.
Common Types of Carnival Ride Accidents
Various factors can contribute to carnival ride accidents. Common causes include mechanical failures and improper operation of the ride. Some accidents result from a passenger failing to follow safety instructions. Sometimes, it is simply the design of the ride that leads to injury, despite the lack of mechanical errors or unsafe conduct of a rider.
Riders may suffer from different injuries. Injuries on carnival rides include:
- Broken bones. Rough rides, falls, and slips may result in a broken bone. The arms, wrists, and legs tend to be the most common areas. If the ride operator fails to ensure the seatbelts are secure, the passenger may hit the structure of a ride forcefully enough to fracture a bone. Sometimes, a rider not properly strapped in may even fall out of their seat. A part of the ride might break or come loose, which can hit a person and break bones.
- Whiplash. Fast and aggressive rides may cause people to experience whiplash or other neck injuries. Roller coasters and spinning rides can jerk a person’s head back and forth quickly. You may even face risk on bumper cars. Signs of the injury include neck stiffness and dizziness. You may feel a tingling sensation in your hands and fatigue.
- Concussions. The force of some carnival rides can lead to a concussion or traumatic brain injury. The gravitational forces of high-speed rides may cause the head to move around abruptly and knock into seats or other objects. The brain shifts and sustains trauma. However, the risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury from a roller coaster is relatively low, and much lower than the chances of TBI in a car crash.
What Is the Most Dangerous Carnival Ride?
Although they are relatively safe, some carnival rides pose a higher risk than others. Roller coasters tend to be the most dangerous compared to the other rides found at carnivals. As mentioned before, roller coasters can be fast and aggressive. The force of roller coasters carries the risk of causing injuries in the head, neck, or back. One study of 38 countries found about 36 percent of injuries involved a roller coaster.
Filing a Claim After a Carnival Ride Accident
If you are injured in a carnival ride accident, you will likely face high medical expenses and other impacts for which you deserve compensation. To recover compensation, you’ll have to prove that another party was at fault. Fault in carnival ride accidents often involves the negligence of one or more parties, or a defect in the ride.
If you or a family member were in a carnival ride accident, you can file a claim alleging one or more parties caused the accident by acting negligently. If the park or an employee was careless in operating, maintaining, or monitoring the ride, they might be liable for damages.
For example, the operator might not have checked if your seat belt was tight enough to keep you from shifting around a dangerous amount on a roller coaster. Failing to operate the ride properly, improper training of an employee, and or failure to post signs warning guests of risks of a ride are examples of negligence upon which you may base a claim.
Bringing a claim that a party was negligent requires showing they failed to be reasonably careful in their role, leading to your injuries.
In some cases, you can file a product liability claim against a manufacturer of a ride or a defective part of a ride. Even if employees are properly trained and operate a ride safely, a person may still get hurt unexpectedly if a ride malfunctions. If the ride or part was produced with a defect or suffered from a design flaw, you might file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
To hold a manufacturer liable, you need evidence to prove the defect in the product and that the defect caused you or your loved one’s injury.
How an Attorney Can Help You In Your Carnival Accident Claim
When you pursue a carnival accident claim, the defendant may use a variety of defenses to prove they are not liable.
These may include:
- The rider did not comply with safety rules. The carnival or manufacturer may defend themselves by arguing that you did not comply with their safety guidance, and thus you are to blame for your injuries.
- Assumption of risk. If someone knows the dangers of an activity but still chooses to participate, the other party may claim the person “assumed the risk.” The effectiveness of the assumption of risk depends on the state. In some places, if the carnival can prove you knew and accepted the risks of the ride, they cannot be responsible. Other states might not allow the assumed risks to exempt a carnival from liability.
- Disclaimers on admission tickets. Tickets often have disclaimers, saying visitors absolve the carnival of all liability upon entering the place. If you signed such a disclaimer, you might have waived your right to pursue compensation.
However, each case is unique, and just because a carnival may come armed with one or more of these or other defenses does not necessarily mean you cannot recover compensation. This is where an experienced carnival accident attorney can come in handy. An attorney can analyze the accident and come up with counter-arguments to such defenses.
For instance, the assumption of risk is not always applicable. A lawyer might show how the injured party could not have predicted, and thus assumed the risk, of a loose screw, the operator having inadequate training, or the ride received little to no inspection. Disclaimers on tickets often do not let a carnival off scot-free. A lawyer could argue that the language was vague and did not cover the circumstances leading to the accident.