Although Tennessee amusement park accidents are fairly rare, they often result in catastrophic injury when they occur leading to head, neck or back injuries and even death. Because amusement parks, carnival rides and water parks are most commonly enjoyed by children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that over 50% of all amusement park injuries are suffered by children under the age of 14. It is also the case that amusement park injuries may be more common than many believe because there is no federal agency that oversees or reports theme park injuries and state reporting is also inconsistent. Nonetheless, each year nearly 10,000 people are treated in emergency rooms from amusement park injuries. The CPSC also reports that between 1987 and 2004, 67 people died in amusement park ride accidents and thousands more were injured each year.
Tennessee law generally does not specifically address carnival and amusement rides with the narrow exception of aerial rides and tramways. Common causes of amusement park and carnival ride accidents include mechanical failure as a result of defective or poorly maintained rides and facilities, negligent operation or supervision of rides and safety equipment, and inadequate maintenance, repair or assembly of amusement park rides.
Sometimes the actual rides or safety equipment like the doors, lap bars or shoulder harness can be defective and malfunction. If the equipment malfunctions because of a defect in the equipment, the manufacturer of the amusement park or carnival ride may be liable under a product liability theory.
When safety equipment or other parts of the ride malfunction because of failure to conduct routine safety checks or failure to properly supervise the ride, the owner of the amusement park facility may be liable for negligence if they failed to exercise the care of a reasonable prudent in similar circumstances to avoid the risk of harm. Tennessee implemented a mandatory inspection program for amusement park rides in 2009. Failure of an amusement park or carnival operator to comply with these state guidelines may provide evidence of negligent conduct.
Though there are a wide variety of injuries that can result from theme park accidents, common types of injuries include the following:
â€¢ Falls: Riders can fall or be thrown from a ride leading to a catastrophic injury and even death.
â€¢ Stroke: The violent jerking motion of high-speed roller coaster type rides can cause tears to the arteries in a riderâ€™s neck, which may lead to a stroke.
â€¢ Traumatic Brain Injury: A person riding a roller coaster can suffer a subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain) because of the stress created on the veins in a riderâ€™s brain. A piece of equipment can also become dislodged and hit a rider in the head.
â€¢ Drowning: Drowning injuries can occur in water parks.
This represents only a small sampling of the type of serious injuries that can result from defective or poorly maintained amusement park ride or inadequate supervision by theme park employees. The attorneys of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz have the experience and knowledge to handle serious injury claims resulting from amusement park accidents. If you or your loved one is seriously injured in an amusement park, carnival ride or water park, NST Law will help you obtain appropriate compensation.