CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee. One rider died, and seven others suffered personal injuries after a ride malfunctioned at a state fair in Columbus, Ohio. According to the Atlantic, passengers on a Fire Ball ride were ejected anywhere from 20 to 30 feet into the air when a row of seats detached. The ride swings like a pendulum, and it appears that riders were catapulted into the air when the ride malfunctioned.
The incident is a devastating tragedy and it might have many wondering about the safety of amusement park rides. Every year, malfunctions like this reach the news, leaving many wondering about what precautions they should take when visiting amusement parks. Yet, are these accidents really that common? Are rides safe?
A report by NBC News suggests that amusement park workers are often forced to work long hours and this may be contributing to potentially dangerous situations. These parks, especially pop-up parks that travel from city to city, may hire migrant workers who may put in grueling hours assembling the rides and operating them. Workers may put in workdays as long as 14 hours, 7 days a week, with no overtime pay. When a new fair is going up, workers may assemble rides overnight or late into the night with little or no rest, increasing the risk of error. Some critics of the working conditions argue that conditions not only endanger these amusement park workers, but they also put fairgoers at risk.
But, do these working conditions actually translate into more injuries? According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there has indeed been an increase in amusement park accidents over the past five years. According to the report, there were 44,000 injuries on amusement park rides in 2012. This suggests that amusement parks do see significant numbers of injuries every year. While most injuries are the result of guests’ failing to follow safety rules, 30% of these accidents are the result of malfunctions of the ride, or operator failure.
Victims in recent accidents have received hundreds of thousands of dollars for their injuries.
It appears that fairs and carnivals that move from town to town may have greater issues than amusement parks that remain in a single place. However, families who are visiting parks for the summer season may want to speak to their local parks about their hiring practices, overtime policies, and treatment of workers. After all, you don’t want a tired worker operating your amusement park ride.
Individuals who suffer personal injuries on rides have rights. You may be entitled to seek damages to cover your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. Attorneys Greer, Swafford, & Adams are personal injury lawyers in Chattanooga, Tennessee who work with victims and their families to help them seek justice when companies cut corners. Our firm works with a range of cases, from recreational vehicle and ATV accidents to car accidents and slip and fall injuries. Visit us at http://www.stephentgreer.com/ to learn more about your rights and options.