When Fun Turns to Tragedy: Amusement Park Accidents

Posted on July 23, 2012 at 1:00pm by

Amusement rides should safely deliver fun and excitement, but sometimes fun turns dangerous. Last August, for example, five people suffered injuries at Morey’s Mariner’s Landing Pier in Wildwood, N.J., when a decorative mast broke on a pirate-themed ride called the Sea Dragon. Also last June, a man sustained serious injuries at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho, when he fell onto roller coaster tracks while trying to board the Corkscrew. Workers too can be injured by amusement rides. For instance, a 25-year-old ride operator was seriously injured at the West Virginia State Fair when a fast-moving gondola on a ride called the Speed struck him as he walked through a restricted area.

Millions of people visit U.S. amusement parks every year. In fact, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), approximately 290 million people visited U.S. amusement facilities in 2010, enjoying 1.7 billion rides. That year, there were an estimated 1,299 ride-related injuries involving fixed-site amusement rides, up from 1,181 in 2009. When an amusement park ride injures park guests or employees, they may be entitled to compensation, and an experienced Atlantic City injury attorney can help them fight to get it.

Travelling carnivals often get a bad rap for being unsafe, but fixed-site amusement parks have their issues too. The Orange County Register reported in June that Disneyland has faced nearly 140 personal injury lawsuits during the past five years and Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., has faced 50. As evidenced by many of the lawsuits, not all amusement park accidents involve rides. According to the article, “about one-third of these cases involved people slipping, tripping or falling.” For example, one woman sued Knott’s Berry Farm after she tripped on a gap in a planter curb and fractured her ankle — she was awarded nearly $71,000. Another woman sued Disneyland after being struck in the head by a windblown food-court umbrella and suffering seizures — she was awarded $546,000.

New Jersey has its fair share of amusement facilities, including Clementon Park, FunTown Amusement Pier, Six Flags Great Adventure and many more. And just like everywhere else, accidents sometimes happen at these facilities. In June 2011, an 11-year-old girl died at Morey’s Mariner’s Landing Pier when she fell from near the top of a 156-foot-tall Ferris wheel. Fortunately, such tragedies are relatively rare. The IAAPA estimates the odds of being seriously injured at one of the 400 fixed-site amusement parks in the U.S. are one in 9 million.

If you sustain injuries on an amusement ride or in a slip or trip and fall accident at an amusement facility, contact a qualified Atlantic City injury lawyer today to learn about your rights under premises liability law.

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