The roller coaster from amusement to misery: Theme park liability

We go to amusement parks to escape to a world of thrilling experiences, immersive themes, and family fun.  The amusement quickly disappears when you or a loved one is injured on a ride that you thought would be safe.

family on roller coaster

How pervasive are amusement park safety issues?

As theme park operators strive to achieve ever more intense thrills and higher speeds to compete for customers, the potential for severe injuries and even death increases dramatically. Every summer, we see stories on the news of dramatic accidents occurring on amusement rides in Virginia and beyond.  A recent study reviewing amusement park injuries to children over 20 years found that there was an average of 4,423 amusement ride-related injuries per year over that time period, which equates to approximately 20 injured children per day in the summer months.

roller coaster

What do attorneys need to know about amusement parks?

Pursuing cases against amusement park operators requires experience with a variety of distinct legal claims, including:

Often such cases require technical knowledge of amusement park ride construction, safety device design, failure modes, effects analysis, and ride operation.

dangers of amusement parks

What must amusement parks do to maintain safety?

An amusement park operator has a duty to keep the park and rides reasonably safe for the use of its customers. Different rides and activities will require different safety measures to reasonably protect park visitors. Safety begins with the design and construction of the ride and any protective equipment. It extends through:

  • Routine maintenance
  • Adequate staffing
  • Thorough staff training
  • Proper operation of the ride
  • Sufficient warnings and instructions for riders

Theme parks will not be deemed automatically responsible for every injury that occurs to a customer riding one of its rides.  The injured rider must be able to prove that the amusement park failed to act reasonably to keep the rider safe. This often requires opinions from experts in amusement park design and operation to explain what caused the malfunction or systems failure that led to the injury. Experts need to have high technical proficiency and base their opinions on concrete evidence and well-understood scientific methods in order to obtain judicial approval to testify. The stakes in an amusement park case require the most qualified experts available.

If you or a loved one has been injured by an amusement park ride, the attorneys at Allen & Allen can help. We have the experience required to effectively handle and litigate an amusement park ride injury claim.  We have access to a network of highly qualified national experts in amusement park ride construction, design, operation, warning, and instruction. Call 1-866-388-1307 for a free case evaluation.