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.