Amusement Park Ride Accidents
Amusement parks are a great place for the entire family to have fun. Texas certainly has its fair share. Arlington is home to the very first Six Flags – Six Flags Over Texas. There are dozens of other parks scattered across the state, including Six Flags Fiesta Texas, SeaWorld San Antonio, Funtrackers Family Fun Park, and Morgan’s Wonderland. Every year, these parks draw millions of people from across the state and country.
While amusement parks are fun, they can also be quite dangerous. Roller coasters and other rides aren’t subject to federal oversight or regulation. That means that it’s really up to the state, local .government entities, and park operators themselves, to make sure that rides are safe. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Every year, there are thousands of amusement park ride accidents and injuries across the United States.
How Common Are Amusement Park Ride Accidents?
According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, there were 1,035 reported amusement park ride accidents in the United States and Canada in 2017. That’s about 2 or 3 amusement park accidents every day. Approximately 10 percent of those accidents required someone to go to the hospital for treatment. So, a severe amusement park ride accident happens about once every three or four days.
What about in Texas? According to data published by Saferparks Database, there have been 1,368 amusement park accident injuries in Texas since 1987. When you break that down, it averages about to just over 42 amusement park accidents a year in Texas.
The Texas Department of Insurance also keeps track of amusement park ride injuries. According to its records, there were 105 accidents in Texas in 2018. There have been 21 accidents so far in 2019.
Causes of Amusement Park Ride Accidents and Injuries
Accidents involving amusement park rides can take a lot of different shapes and forms. The most common causes and types of accidents include:
- Equipment failure
- Onboarding/exiting accidents
- Impact with part of the ride
- Struck by a foreign object, and
- Person struck by ride.
So, accidents can happen when you’re getting onto a ride, during a ride, or while you’re exiting the ride.
Leading Amusement Park Ride Accident Injuries
According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the most commonly reported injuries in children following an amusement park ride accident include:
- Soft tissue injury
- Head and neck injury
- Sprains and strains
- Cuts and lacerations
- Arm injury
- Face injury
- Leg injury, and
- Broken bones.
The type of injury is, of course, associated with the underlying cause and type of accident. A person who is ejected from a ride is much more likely to sustain severe injuries than someone who trips on the platform while entering a ride.
What Should I Do If I’m Injured on an Amusement Park Ride in Texas?
Remain calm and keep these steps in mind.
1. Seek Medical Attention.
Always get your injuries checked out by a medical professional right away. Most amusement parks have an on-sight medical tent or building. It doesn’t hurt to get an independent exam off-site, either. Getting help right away will help to ensure that your injuries are diagnosed and treated, which will reduce the risk of complications. The medical report generated from your visit will also help to establish a link between your accident and injuries.
2. Report the Accident
Make sure you report the accident to the amusement park as soon as you can. You’ll want it on the record to substantiate any claims for damages you might decide to file in the future. Reporting your injury will also help to ensure that safety and accident records are accurate.
3. Take Photos and Speak to Witnesses
Evidence might be critical to your future injury claims. So, take a few minutes to take photos of the ride and your injuries. Do your best to document the scene and note anything of interest or importance. Try to find anyone who witnessed your accident and ask for their name and contact information. They might be able to help you if your claim is contested by the amusement park or their insurance company.
4. Speak With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Don’t say too much after your accident. The amusement park might be responsible for your accident and resulting injuries. As a guest, you’re entitled to be relatively safe on the park grounds. The owners and operators have to take certain precautions to make sure that happens. If they fail to inspect their rides, perform regular maintenance, or hire qualified staff, accidents can happen. A Texas personal injury lawyer can tell you if you have a legitimate premises liability claim or lawsuit.