Injured at an Amusement Park in Chicago? Get Legal Answers
Injured at a Theme Park
Each year, millions of adults and children flock to amusement parks and carnivals all over the country, from Chicago to Anaheim to Orlando. Although the vast majority of visits are trouble-free and exciting adventures, thousands of visitors are injured or killed every year on roller coasters, bumper cars, and other rides. If these injuries are due to the negligence of park owners, ride operators, or ride manufacturers, a lawsuit claiming money damages may be filed against those responsible.
Since 1990, the legal team at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of individuals and families affected by the negligence of others. Call us for free information 24 hours a day at (800) 996-4824.
Types of Amusement Park Accidents
Thrill rides are thrilling for a reason. They usually involve high speeds, close calls, and in the case of some roller coasters, may even invert the riders so that they travel upside down. As such, the machinery and computer programming required is usually very complicated and precise. There’s virtually no room for operator error, so when mistakes happen, injuries result. But even when the machinery is in perfect working order, the extreme nature of some of these rides may result in injuries anyway. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Brain aneurysms resulting from extra fast rides or roller coasters.
- Wrongful death from being thrown from a ride or striking an object.
- Neck, back, and head injuries from whiplash-type movements on coasters and spinning rides.
- Drownings on water rides, water slides, and lazy-river rides.
- Broken bones, cuts, and torn ligaments from unforeseen contact with fixed objects.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) from extreme stress, speed, and G-forces placed on the brain during acceleration, deceleration, or contacting a fixed object.
- Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) due to interrupted blood supply.
Causes of Amusement Park Accidents
Amusements parks are fast-paced, crowded entertainment venues that often employ thousands of people working hundreds of different jobs simultaneously. Coordinating each job is important in maintaining safety, and if any mistakes occur, injuries and deaths are bound to follow. Some of the most common causes of accidents include:
- Mechanical ride failures: Such as a roller coaster car detaching; a lap restraint or lap bar opening mid-ride; a safety lock opening; a water raft becoming airborne; rider ejection; loose cabling; cables snapping; or other machinery failures.
- Passenger failures: Such as a rider rocking a car intentionally; standing up during a ride; or purposely unlocking safety devices, latches, or lap belts.
- Ride operator failures: Such as a ride operator purposefully, negligently, or recklessly operating the ride incorrectly; failure to properly train the ride operator; failure to enforce required height and weight restrictions; improperly loading or unloading passengers; failure to bring the ride to a full stop; or failure to shut down the ride completely.
- Design, maintenance, and assembly failures: Such as improper machine design; improper installation or assembly of the ride; structural flaws; protruding or sharp parts; or improper maintenance leading to errors such as exposed electrical wiring or electrical failures.
- Inherent ride characteristics: Even when designed, assembled, and maintained according to plan, certain rides by their very nature still place riders at risk for injuries such as loss of consciousness; cerebral hemorrhage; subdural hematoma; and the like due to the extreme spinning and the high acceleration and deceleration involved.
- Park management failures: Such as failure to put proper security measures into place; install high fencing; post proper warning signs; install adequate lighting; warn riders with certain medical conditions or pregnancy; or closely monitor those who attempt to retrieve dropped phones and hats that have fallen from rides.
What to Do If Injured on an Amusement Park Ride
What you do immediately after you or a loved one has been injured on an amusement park ride is of critical importance:
- Seek immediate medical attention: Nothing is more important that your health. Depending on the extent of the injury, you may wish to seek treatment from an on-site medical doctor or to call 911 for emergency medical care and transportation to the closest hospital.
- Collect evidence: Once medical attention has been received, someone should focus on collecting whatever evidence is available to be used later in a possible lawsuit. Sources of evidence include the names and phone numbers of witnesses or park employees, taking photographs or videos, etc.
- Keep all paperwork: This includes ticket stubs, hospital bills and records, insurance payments, record of lost time from work, etc.
- Don’t discuss specifics with others: Other than doctors or hospital staff that need to know how you were injured, don’t discuss specifics with insurance adjusters or park representatives, other than confirming that you were injured on their property. Adjusters and representatives may try to trick you into saying something that places the blame on you and ruins your chances of successfully filing a claim against them.
- Immediately contact an experienced lawyer: A Chicago personal injury attorney can speak on your behalf to insurance adjusters and dramatically increase your chances for a successful claim. The legal team at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC is available 24 hours a day for free information at (800) 996-4824.
The Insurance Company May Try to Blame You
In order for an injury or wrongful death lawsuit to be successfully filed against an amusement park, theme park, or carnival, an attorney must demonstrate that the other party was at fault in some way. However, the other side will undoubtedly attempt to avoid responsibility (and avoid paying money damages) by shifting the fault to the rider. They will often try to do this by pointing to:
- Assumption of risk: They will say that the rider knew that the ride had risks before getting on it and knew that bad things might happen, so the rider “assumed the risk” and now can’t blame the park for the injury or death.
- Rider safety errors: They will say that the rider did something wrong and that’s why the rider was injured; such as rocking the ride, standing up, or failing to follow posted safety rules or verbal instructions.
- Ticket disclaimers: On the back of virtually every ticket, from a movie-theater ticket to a concert ticket, is a disclaimer, which is legal language intended to absolve (release) the company from any responsibility in the event of an accident.
But experienced and knowledgeable injury attorneys know how to respond to attacks of this nature and to direct the blame back at those truly responsible: ride operators, manufacturers, and amusement park companies.
Successfully Filing an Amusement Park Injury Lawsuit
Some of the most common legal claims that may be filed against theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, and carnival owners or operators include:
- Negligence: When an amusement park accident is caused by a lack of attention or carelessness on the part of a park employee, a claim for negligence can be successfully prosecuted against those responsible. Some examples include a failure to maintain the ride in a safe condition, giving the wrong instructions, failing to provide proper warnings, or operating the ride improperly, among other things.
- Premises Liability: It’s the obligation of amusement park and carnival operators to create and maintain a safe environment for all visitors. When a visitor is injured or killed while on the premises, a lawsuit alleging premises liability may be filed.
- Product Liability: Sometimes, a ride is properly maintained and properly operated and yet, a rider is still injured or killed because the design of the ride (or a part of the ride such as a lap bar) was defective. Under some circumstances, the attorney can sue not only the manufacturer, but also the ride owner.
- Wrongful Death: In any circumstances when a person is killed due to the negligent or reckless actions (or failure to act) of another person or company, a claim for wrongful death may be filed to recover money damages for family members left behind.
Speak to a Top Amusement Park Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligent or reckless acts of another, you are entitled to monetary compensation for the damages caused. But those who represent amusement parks and carnivals are usually not interested in taking responsibility for their actions. To achieve justice and force those accountable to take responsibility, you need an experienced legal team with a successful history of results on your side.
Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC has been responsible for the recovery of millions of dollars for our clients and their families. There is never a charge for our advice and there are never any legal fees unless we are successful on your behalf. That’s our guarantee to you. Call us 24 hours a day to see how we can be of assistance at (800) 996-4824.
- Keeping Children Safe at Amusement Parks in Chicago
- Amusement Rides FAQ - Illinois Department of Labor
- (430 ILCS 85/) Amusement Ride and Attraction Safety Act.