Summer time means visits to Six Flags and other amusement parks in Atlanta and across the country. Most families have fun on their minds and give little consideration to what could happen if things go awry. But accidents do happen, and thousands of park visitors are injured each year. What sorts of injuries are possible, and what steps should you take in the event you get hurt?
Amusement park rides are extremely complicated and must be serviced regularly to maintain safe operation. Although most are properly cared for and will never cause problems, there are many moving parts that could malfunction. The following is a list of things that could go wrong and cause an accident:
- Missing, broken, or insufficient safety belt or harness
- Broken lap bar
- Malfunctioning safety lock or other components
- Loose cables
- Corroded or rusted parts
- Track defects
- Electrical shortages
When rides such as roller coasters malfunction, riders can be trapped. Sometimes passengers are stuck upside down, requiring rescue. But riders can also be injured or even killed. These are some injuries that can result from faulty roller coasters and other amusement park rides:
- Head injuries
- Whiplash and neck strain
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Sprained ankles
- Cuts, burns, and lacerations
- Injuries after being thrown from a ride
- Loss of a limb or digit
- Loss of feeling in a limb or digit
We often think of injuries as those related to roller coasters and other park rides. A sometimes overlooked type of injury is the slip and fall. These actually tend to be more common because they can occur anywhere. The risk increases at water parks, pools, and other water-themed areas within an amusement park. Drowning is another injury that is common at water parks.
The question of who is responsible for injuries – and to what degree – involves consideration of negligence. As it relates to amusement parks, the particular doctrine at issue is premises liability. In Georgia, property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe manner. A property owner is liable if a visitor is injured on the property due to unreasonably unsafe conditions. In the context of amusement parks, the following could be evidence of liability:
- Staff members who are not paying attention or properly securing ride passengers
- Spills, wet floors, and otherwise slippery surfaces not cleaned
- Failure to regularly inspect and properly maintain rides
- Failure to keep the park grounds and facilities in safe, working order
Liability is often attributed to the amusement park due to negligence on the part of management, staff, and employees. In some cases, however, the manufacturers of the rides can be held responsible. Some parks hire maintenance companies to keep the rides in proper working condition. When those companies fail to do their jobs, they may be held liable.
Every case is different, and each one hinges on the particular facts surrounding the accident. There are several steps that a victim or victim’s family can take to document the injury. Many visitors to parks naturally carry video recording equipment and cameras, which could provide evidence. Considering the number of people who visit parks on any given day, there could be dozens or hundreds of witnesses. If you can locate any, you should get their names and contact information for later. Hold on to your medical bills, evidence of lost wages, and records of other costs concerning your injury.
Don’t Wait to Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney
Perhaps the single most important step you should take after an accident is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Management at the amusement park may attempt to settle with you for far less than your case is worth. This is to make your case go away at the lowest possible cost. But for many victims, it means unpaid medical bills and lost wages because of low dollar amounts. If you or a loved one have been hurt at an amusement park, you deserve fair compensation for your injuries. Talk to the personal injury attorneys at Schneider Hammers today.