According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, every year more than 43,000 Americans are treated for injuries incurred at amusement parks, and the majority of these injuries affect children and adolescents under 24 years of age.
At GreeningLaw P.C., we want to make you aware of the potential risks so you and your family can get the most out of a trip to a theme park, carnival, state fair or other similar outdoor event this summer.
7 common-sense safety tips
1. Plan ahead
Before you hit your destination, take some time to review its layout on the internet and plan out things such as which rides and attractions you want visit. This will economize your time and ensure that you and your family members know the locations of entries and exits, restrooms, food and drink stands, as well as information booths. Make sure to talk about things like what your children should do if they get lost or separated from the group.
2. Dress for the situation
We all want to look our best, but also need to think about our safety. Things like long or dangling jewelry, long loose hair and baggy clothes can get caught in machinery. So leave jewelry at home, braid long hair and wear fitted clothing. Be sure to wear closed-toed shoes and dress in layers so you can add or remove clothing as needed.
3. Respect the sun
Nothing can ruin a day faster than a painful sunburn. Apply sunscreen liberally and be sure to reapply often. Remember that sweating will reduce sunscreen’s effectiveness and take extra care with young children and the elderly, who have particularly sensitive skin.
4. Stay hydrated and refuel often
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, but it’s critical to remember to take water and food breaks. Dehydration can come on fast, so drink water (not soda or juice) throughout the day and remember to recharge your body with healthy snacks. Consider drinking a sports drink with electrolytes (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.) if you sweat heavily.
When traveling in a group (large or small), it’s always a good idea to pair up members of the group as buddies. Make sure the group knows they are responsible for making sure their buddy is still with the group, staying hydrated, and seems to feel well.
6. Obey the rules
Theme park rides are faster, higher and more thrilling than ever. That’s why it’s important to listen carefully to the instructions provided at each ride and abide by them. Make sure your children also understand and follow the rules and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
7. Know the common signs of injury
Parents should bring children to a first aid station immediately if they start to show a sudden-onset severe headache or significant nausea or vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, or numbness and tingling. These are the biggest warning signs that something might be wrong. If the symptoms quickly resolve themselves, the child can continue to enjoy the park.
Common types of injuries
The following are examples of some of the more common ways guests suffer injuries at theme parks and other outdoor attractions:
- Slip-and-fall accidents can result in bruising, concussions, broken bones and other orthopedic injuries.
- Dangerous or broken rides can cause serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations or even decapitations.
- Unsafe or improperly maintained water rides can lead to drowning deaths and near-drowning accidents.
- Untrained or unsupervised ride operators can cause malfunctions on otherwise operational theme park rides, leading to accidents and injuries.
Who is responsible if you get injured at a theme park or similar venue?
Depending on what caused the injury in question, legal responsibility may rest with the venue’s owner/operator, the designer or manufacturer of a ride, the owner of a concession stand, or another company entirely. In addition, more than one party may be held either wholly or partially responsible for paying compensation to the victim(s). When you file a legal claim after an injury, your attorney may file the claim against one or more of these potential defendants depending on the facts surrounding your situation.
Property owners owe patrons a duty of care
Those who operate outdoor entertainment venues have a legal responsibility to keep their property in reasonably safe condition. If a person suffers an injury that could have been avoided if the property owner/operator took reasonable preventative steps, the injured person may be able to sue for compensation (referred to as premises liability).
Even in states without specific regulations for carnivals and theme parks, there are still duty of care rules for businesses that serve the public. That means property owners must do everything reasonably possible to protect visitors from undue harm.
As with all businesses, the defendant (which may be an individual, but more likely a corporation or other business entity), can also be held liable for employee negligence. This could involve failing to adequately instruct patrons about proper use of rides, failing to conduct proper crowd control, failing to control animals during shows, and more.
You don’t have to go it alone
At GreeningLaw P.C., we know that people want to get out and enjoy the summer, and we understand that heading out to theme parks, carnivals, and state fairs are a big part of that enjoyment. Following the tips above can greatly decrease your chances of an accident or injury, but it’s important to keep in mind that even if you do everything right, things can still go awry due to the carelessness and/or negligence of others.
Don’t take it upon yourself to determine if an injury could have been prevented. GreeningLaw P.C.’s skilled attorneys have years of experience investigating and litigating these kinds of accident cases. We know insurance companies for big-name theme parks will fight you every step of the way, and we understand how to overcome the kinds of arguments they will present. Our attorneys and investigators work diligently to determine what really happened and identify any parties who may be liable.
GreeningLaw P.C is recognized as one of the leading personal injury law firms in Texas for a reason, and we are here to help. We offer free consultations in which we review the elements of your case, discuss any possible compensation, and recommend the best course of action.
Call 972.934.8900 or schedule a free consultation online and let us handle your case so you can go back to focusing on the things that matter most to you.
We fight the legal battle so you have time for healing and renewal, and we hope everyone has a fun, safe summer!