Summer is a great time for families to get outside and enjoy some of the activities and festivals that are available. Carnivals and fairs offer a lot of various rides and attractions for children and adults alike. However, there are some concerns over the safety of the rides at some of these carnivals; it is common to hear about rides that malfunction, and people who are hurt because of faulty equipment. Yet these injuries would likely be preventable had the owners or managers taken the proper steps to ensure the safety of fairgoers.
Rides may be unsafe because of mechanical problems or because they were not installed properly. Rides may not be properly maintained. Regardless of the reasons, unsafe rides should not be allowed to be utilized at carnivals. All too often, rides are set up quickly and some shortcuts may be taken in order to meet a deadline. Additionally, rides may not be installed according to manufacturer guidelines. This can deem a ride unsafe. For example, rides that are placed on wet ground may not be stable. During the course of the event, the ride may shift or move, causing it to become unbalanced and unsafe.
Responsibilities of Festival Proprietors
The public has a reasonable right to expect that they will be safe when they attend an event such as a festival or carnival. Proprietors have a legal responsibility to provide safe premises. If they know of any dangerous conditions, they must take immediate steps to resolve it. For example, if a ride malfunctions, the owners must have it inspected and repaired before it is put into use again. Usually, they are liable for accidents and injuries that happen at their location.
Rules and Laws
There are some rules and laws that apply to carnivals. Regular safety inspections are conducted to make sure that the equipment is properly maintained and is safe for the public. However, these inspections may not always be sufficient to find and resolve problems. Inspections are generally not required before every setup, yet these fairs and festivals often travel from place to place every week or two. Equipment may be old and may be ready to break at any time. Owners do not always have a qualified mechanic on staff to examine, maintain and repair mechanical rides.
Injuries Caused by Rides
Many types of injuries, including some serious ones, can be the result of dangerous rides. When someone is injured on a ride, they may suffer broken bones, bruises, back or neck injuries, head trauma, or harm to internal organs. Victims may fall from rides or become entangled in their mechanisms. Those who are not properly strapped in could be slammed against the sides or floor of the ride. Recently a girl was seriously injured when she her hair became entangled in the mechanism while the ride was going. It took several or more minutes to stop the ride, during which time she suffered severe head trauma. Fortunately, the girl survived. However, not all victims are as lucky. When someone suffers an injury at a carnival or park, they could have a permanent disability or could die.
Prevention of Injuries at Carnivals
Parents and other carnival-goers should observe rides before riding on them. Watch to make sure that the rides are being properly monitored. Review the safety features to ensure that they are functioning properly and are being utilized. If you have any concerns, do not get on a ride, and do not allow your children to ride them. Supervise your children when they are at a carnival to make sure that they observe the safety instructions provided. For instance, some rides allow children only of a specific height or age. If you notice an unsafe condition, report it, even if it has not yet caused an injury.
What to Do After a Carnival Ride Injury
The first thing to do if you or a family member was injured is to get medical attention immediately. Report the injury to the police so there is a police report of the incident. Report the injury to the carnival manager. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the incident because this may be necessary later if the matter ends up in court. Take photos of the ride, including the mechanical portion and where the accident actually happened. Obtain the name of the employee who was in charge of the ride at the time of the occurrence.
Negligence and Liability
When someone suffers a serious injury because of the negligence of another, the victim may be entitled to compensation. In order to collect on a claim, the victim must be able to prove that the party was liable, or responsible, and that they were negligent. Negligence occurs when the liable party does something, or fails to do something, that is known to likely cause an injury. In the case of rides, improperly maintaining the rides, installing them incorrectly, or insufficiently supervising them may rise to the level of negligence.
Speak with an Attorney
When you or a loved one was hurt because of an unsafe ride the medical costs and other damages will add up quickly. Medical diagnosis, testing, treatments, surgery, and medication are all expenses that should be covered by the responsible party. Those who were victims of accidents such as this should contact an attorney as soon as possible. It is important to note that you may be contacted by the insurance company and could be offered a check. Do not accept or cash any payment until you discuss the matter first with a qualified personal injury attorney. The insurance company’s offer is usually a quick way to make the problem go away, and it may not be the amount of money that is necessary to pay the expenses caused by the injury.
If you or a loved one were injured by a carnival ride, contact the experienced Columbia personal injury legal team at The Connell Law Firm, LLC to discuss your case today.