Amusement Park Injuries – Know Your Rights

Every year, millions of people in the United States and around the world flock to amusement parks to see exciting entertainment and to ride their favorite rides. Theme parks have long-been considered one of America’s most wholesome places for family fun. However, not all trips to amusement parks are the fun-filled, safe family outings we’d like them to be. Unfortunately, what has always been considered a wonderful form of entertainment for all ages carries with it the very real possibility of serious injury or even death.In the United States, no official source is keeping a complete national record of theme park accidents, and in many states such as Florida, theme parks are not legally required to report accidents involving injuries.However, based on reports and estimations, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has published a study stating that there are approximately 5,000 amusement park ride-related injuries each year, and that there were 67 fatalities from rides in 2004 alone. The CPSC cites a number of factors involved in the number of injuries and deaths reported including mechanical failure, design defects, poor maintenance, operator behavior, and consumer behavior.The laws surrounding the amusement park industry are numerous, complex and vary from state to state. Regulation and inspection of amusement rides are left up to the state or local municipality. Most states do provide some sort of amusement ride regulation; however, consumers really have no way of knowing exactly how many people have been injured at parks such as Universal Studios Florida and Disney World.As a matter of fact, the largest amusement parks in Florida are exempt from state regulations that require all injuries be reported and are exempt from the regulations that allow the state authorities to shut down and inspect the rides. Nonetheless, the Disney Company voluntarily submits to safety inspections on a regular basis.Because the laws in this industry are so complex, the expertise of a personal injury lawyer with experience in this arena may be necessary to fully understand your rights as a guest of the amusement park should you be injured. There are three types of law involved with liability for amusement park accidents: negligence (tort) law, product liability law, and premises liability law.According to the International Association of Amusement Park Attractions (IAAPA), going on amusement park rides is one of the safest forms of recreation in America. The organization states that you are more likely to be injured when you play sports, ride a horse, or even ride a bicycle. Their statistics show the occurrence of death on a ride to be approximately 1 in 250 million riders.Regardless of the statistics, accidents do happen, and if one happens at an amusement park, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and possibly receive compensation for your injury.