Amusement Park Injuries: What They Are And How To Proceed
When an amusement park ride fails, it often becomes international news. The good news is that serious injuries and death by amusement park rides is incredibly rare. Rides, especially in the United States, are subject to high industry standards and state inspections. They undergo constant evaluation and maintenance checks, since the number one priority in the amusement park industry is safety.
While major incidents are rare, injuries at theme parks do occur. These injuries are often minor, but are taken seriously by the park. Here's what you have to know about injury risk when you go to an amusement park.
It is every park's goal to keep the number of injuries, regardless of the severity, down. The most common injuries at amusement parks are luckily not very severe.
- Heat related. Parks try to keep guests comfortable in the heat. A "mister" is a fan or other device that is placed strategically in lines or on midways to blow cool mist on guests as they pass. Many parks offer free ice water in cups or will refill your water free of charge. Some guests will succumb to the heat regardless of how the park tries to prevent it.
- Slips, trips and falls. Parks do their best to keep the land level and to mark uneven ground or stairs with yellow paint. Slick areas should be marked with signage or mats. Guests will still injure themselves in these ways.
- Bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes. Although ride units are inspected daily for sharp objects protruding from them, the occasional cut can still occur. Bumps and bruises can happen from the movement of the rides.
- Seizures. Seizures can occur for many reasons, but strobe lighting can trigger a seizure. Attractions that utilize strobe lighting will likely have a sign alerting guests of the fact. Any ride that uses on-ride photography will have strobe lighting.
I'm hurt! Now what?
If you do get hurt at an amusement park, odds are it won't be anything major. However, it is a good idea to follow these steps regardless of the extent of the injury:
- Tell someone at the ride. If you get hurt on a ride, even if you think it is not a big deal at the time, report it to someone. Alerting a ride attendant prior to leaving the ride is a good idea. If you are injured on the ride, they may want to examine that unit prior to putting another guest on it. They may also want to fill out an incident report. If your injury requires additional assistance from medical staff, they will alert them for you.
- Find an employee—any employee. If your injury happens on the midway and you consider it severe, alert any staff member. They will be able to get in contact with medical staff to attend to you.
- Report it to First Aid. If you did not get in contact with medical staff, be sure to find the First Aid location at the park to report your injury. They will examine you and take a report. This report will be in addition to any incident report that occurs at a ride location. If you leave the park without speaking with medical staff, they will have no record of your injury. If the injury worsens and you want to speak with the park about it, this will cause problems for you.
- Follow their rules for receiving medical care. If you do need additional medical treatment, make sure to follow any instructions you are given by the park. They often work with specific facilities, and if you do not go where you are instructed (or get your own care without informing them), your expenses will not be covered.
- Remember the details. Do your best to recall where your injury happened, how it happened, and anything that could have contributed to why it happened. Also remember who you reported it to.
Should I get an attorney involved?
Realistically, most injuries acquired at a park will not require an attorney. If you are trying to decide whether you need an attorney, consider the following things:
- Most parks do have safety rules in place, and while they may not be listed at every location, they can likely be found online or in a park guide. These rules will typically cover many things from not running to riding at your own risk, and work to reduce the park's liability. Before getting an attorney, review these rules and make sure that you were not breaking any of them.
- If you were under the influence of any type of drug, including alcohol, you likely broke a rule and the park will not be at fault for your injury.
- If you did not report the incident, you will have a hard time proving your case.
- If faced with a lawsuit, the park will collect statements from all associates and any other witnesses to the incident. They will also do a thorough investigation.
- An amusement park will have a good attorney. If there is basis to your claim, they will likely settle with you out of court.
For more information, contact a lawyer in your area like Edward J. Achrem & Associates, Ltd.
18 March 2015