One dozen people were recently injured in a Kentucky amusement park after a children’s ride toppled over. At least one personal injury lawsuit has been filed. The complaint specifically references how employees at Beech Bend Amusement Park in Bowling Green behaved negligently during the operation of the ride, including leaving a designated post. The ride at issue, the “Jitterbug” is a carousel of swings.
The jaw-dropping amusement park accident has many parents concerned about the safety of theme parks and county fairs. State officials are responsible for issuing licenses to theme parks and ride operators, but officials cannot run 24-hour surveillance to ensure compliance. The safety of visitors ultimately depends on the people who are operating the ride and profit from it.
What About Liability Waivers?
You may notice that theme parks have you waive their liability for any injuries before you enter. These can be done conspicuously, by asking an adult to read and sign a contract that waives the park’s liability for injuries. However, most amusement parks are less obvious and print limitations of liability clauses on the back of admission tickets. By purchasing the ticket and entering the park, you are tacitly agreeing to their terms. The enforcement of liability waivers varies from case to case.
Theme parks try to make liability waivers as broad as possible, but there are limits to what they can legally protect themselves from. For example, someone with a preexisting neck injury who decides to go on a rollercoaster may have a difficult time suing the theme park for exacerbating his or her condition. Now, imagine the situation at Beech Bend, where the ride topples on its side during operation. The defendant theme park will have a difficult time convincing a judge or jury that it’s not legally responsible to people injured on that ride due to a liability waiver.
Smaller fairs often involve different legal considerations than amusement parks. Theme parks are nearly always privately owned and on private property, but fairs are often erected on municipal property. Further, fairs often have a variety of rides and booths that are independently operated. All these issues may affect how your injury claim unfolds.
An Attorney Will Help You Sort Through Your Options
If you or a family member has been seriously injured at a theme park or fair, it is important that you get medical attention and contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as practicable. If a dangerous condition caused the injury, the responsible party will likely fix, or remediate, the condition soon after. This often leaves a small window of time for securing the best evidence to support your claim.
A skillful lawyer will also review potential liability waivers and build strategies to keep them from eliminating or devaluing your claim.
Reputable personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultations. You are under no obligation to hire a lawyer after an initial consultation. You can consult with different law firms until you find one you are comfortable working with. If you are in Southwestern Ohio and would like to discuss your injury claim with Rittgers Rittgers & Nakajima, contact us online or call 513-496-0134 for a FREE initial consultation.