Multiple news outlets reported earlier this month that the state of Illinois has suspended 12 amusement rides after a fatal accident at an Ohio fair. In Columbus Ohio, an 18-year-old man died after he was thrown into the air and landed about 50 feet away from the swinging and spinning amusement park ride called the Fire Ball. Seven other people were injured as a result of the accident.
In response to this amusement park accident, the Illinois department of labor has decided to suspend 12 rides throughout the states. All 12 rides are manufactured by by KMG, the same Dutch company that makes the Fire Ball.
One of the suspended rides was set to be used at the DuPage County Fair outside of Chicago. The Dupage County Fair commissioner stated the following in response to the state’s decision to suspend on of their rides: All rides have to be inspected by the state, and they get certified and a sticker on them that they have passed inspection through the state. They are inspected each and every time they’re set up at any other event that goes on, usually by the municipality, the fire department in that area. In our case, here, we add one more layer to that. We get both the city and fire department, and then also an inspection team that’s independent.”
The question remains if the current inspection protocol in Illinois is enough to certify rides? Are there steps the state should implement, such as the independent inspection done by the DuPage fair? I would recommend both state and independent inspections be required before certification for state use. Hopefully this will prevent what happened in Ohio.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in an Illinois amusement park accident or other personal injury, call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076
It has been a dangerous summer at amusement parks around the United States. In a span of about ten days a boy died on a waterslide in Kansas City, three girls were injured after falling from a Ferris wheel in Tennessee and a boy was critically injured after falling from a roller coaster in Pittsburgh.
These recent accidents, no doubt, have amusement park operators around the country on edge. The Chicago Tribune reported last week that Six Flags Great America Park in Gurnee Illinois touted their daily safety procedures for all of their rides. According to Director of Park Operations Dameon Nelson, each ride goes through a full inspection process during the park’s offseason. Ride tracks, trains and the ride system are checked daily before the park opens by maintenance technicians and operations staff. Each ride is put through a series of sessions to simulate different aspects of the ride, according to the park’s website.
A 2013 study by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital states that 92,885 children under 18 were treated in the U.S. for amusement ride injuries from 1990 to 2010. The study states an average of 4,423 are treated per year and 70 percent of the injuries are during the summer. The data was collected from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is responsible for overseeing temporary parks, such as a county fair. Fixed-site facilities are overseen by state and local agencies. In Illinois, the state’s Department of Labor inspects all rides, and no rides can operate until they are insured and meet safety standards.
Inspections like those performed at Six Flags are necessary and it is refreshing to hear, but obviously that isn’t always enough. Especially in the four cases discussed above. Assuming inspections were made on all of those rides, something still went wrong and injuries were caused by either a defect in the design of the ride or a failure to find something faulty during inspections. The families of these children will most likely file personal injury claims based on premises liability. If lawsuits are filed they will most likely allege that there were dangerous conditions within the parks that the owners either knew or should have known about to protect their guests. I foresee a wrongful death lawsuit from the death of the young boy at the water park in Kansas City unless they are able to agree on a settlement outside of court.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago premises accident or an Illinois amusement park accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.