Who is Responsible for Safety at an Amusement Park?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Pius Joseph with Law Offices of Pius Joseph.
Amusement parks are required to follow strict safety regulations to ensure that visitors to the park remain safe for the duration of their time there. However, when an injury does occur, liability could fall on multiple parties. While the amusement park owner is typically responsible for maintaining safe conditions and ensuring proper safety training for staff members, amusement park staff are also required to individually follow safety requirements to ensure a safe experience for everyone, especially small children. If the injury occurred entirely due to the fault of the visitor themself, it is also possible that some of the liability falls with the injured party; however, amusement parks are also expected to account for foreseeable risks, such as visitors wandering somewhere they shouldn’t.
State and federal laws regulate amusement park safety.
The risk posed to amusement park visitors is well-known enough that both state and federal governments have instituted certain rules and regulations to ensure visitor safety. However, this means that investigations into amusement park injuries can vary from state to state, and the specific rules that apply after an injury in one amusement park may or may not apply in another.
However, amusement park accidents are unique in that they often fall into multiple practice areas, including premises liability if the property itself is unsafe, product liability if the injury occurred due to a malfunctioning ride or other product, and general negligence if the injury occurred due to negligence on the part of the amusement park owner or staff.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the following are the most common causes of amusement park accidents:
- Mechanical failures: If the injury occurred due to a mechanical failure with one of the rides, it may be possible to file a product liability claim against the designer or manufacturer. Product defects can be dangerous in any scenario, but they are particularly dangerous at amusement parks. If the failure occurred due to poor maintenance of a ride or another piece of equipment, the party responsible for maintaining that mechanism may also be liable.
- Operator negligence: Amusement park ride operators have a serious responsibility to make sure that every visitor meets the necessary requirements before being allowed on a ride. This means that if a visitor is too young or too short to ride, they should not be allowed to do so. Ride operators are also responsible for performing safety checks before and after each ride, including checking safety restraints and making sure all passengers have their hands and feet inside the vehicle. If an injury occurs due to operator error or because the amusement park owner did not properly train their operators, both parties could be liable.
- Visitor conduct: Visitors themselves take on a certain amount of responsibility for their own safety upon visiting an amusement park. Children should never be left unattended and safety requirements for every ride should be abided by at all times. Similarly, safety restraints and other safety mechanisms should never be removed or disregarded, as doing so could result in serious and debilitating injuries.
If you or a loved one were injured in an amusement park, reach out to an amusement park injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for physical and financial recovery from the liable party.