Have you been injured while at a California amusement park? You may need an amusement park accident attorney to help. California is home to several major amusement parks that attract visitors from all over the world. Some of the most popular amusement parks in California include Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Magic Mountain and Raging Waters among others. With the thousands of park visitors each day, injuries are bound to happen. In the amusement parks competitive attempts to provide the ultimate thrill, however, consumers are sometimes injured. In a very recent accident, more than two dozen victims were injured when a roller coaster came to an abrupt stop at the end of its ride. At least twenty people were sent to the hospital with neck and chest injuries. While the majority of these patients were treated and then released, at least one person was admitted to the hospital as a result of this accident.
How often amusement park accidents occur is difficult to say since trying to determine since there is no comprehensive source for amusement ride accident data. No federal law or national agency requires all ride operators in every state to file such accident reports. In California, there are no laws that require all ride operators — either permanent or mobile rides — to report all accidents to the state. On a national level, most regulated parks are required to report accidents to their regulating state agency and/or their insurance company, but the reporting requirements are not uniform and the information is generally not available to the public. As a result, it is impossible to obtain accurate and complete accident data.
The following are some statistics taken by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on amusement park injuries published in 2003:
· In 2002, mobile amusement rides accounted for an estimated 3000 injuries treated by emergency rooms
· In 2002, inflatable rides, such as inflatable slides and bounces accounted for an estimated 2,500 hospital emergency room trips;
· From 1987 to 2000, for mobile and fixed-site amusement rides combined, there were an estimated 4.5 amusement-ride fatalities per year. At the time of preparing the report, the US CPSC had reports of 3 amusement ride fatalities in 2003, 2 in 2002 and 3 in 2001.
In an earlier report, the CPSC also noted the hazard patterns associated with amusement related incidents, such as:
(1) mechanical failures: missing safety pins, broken welds or structural components, exposed electrical wires, malfunctioning lap bars or other safety restraints, failure to shutoff, etc.
(2) operator behavior: abruptly stopping the ride, improperly assembling or maintaining the ride;
(3) consumer behavior: intentionally rocking cars, standing up, defeating safety restraints, sitting improperly, holding child above the safety restraint,
(4) other: rides that injure people while apparently functioning normally, without any unusual behavior on the part of the consumer or operator.
(5) combination: operator suddenly stopping a ride when he heard an unusual thumping sound due to a bent rail.
Liability for amusement park accidents and injuries involves three types of law – negligence or tort law, product liability law and premises liability law. If you or a family member has suffered an injury at an amusement park, there will be some important questions you and your attorney will want to explore together in order to determine if you have a case or not and against whom. Liability will certainly be a major issue. The “doctrine of assumption of risk” will be the legal issue at stake and one you will want to discuss with a lawyer who will represent you and get you the compensation you deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney can make all the difference in these cases. Contact the law offices of Estey & Bomberger today for expert advice in your case.