Columbus Amusement Park Injury Lawyers
Nearly 335 million people visit amusement parks across the United States each year. The amusement park industry, at large, assures the public that parks and rides across the nation are safe and regularly inspected. Recent injuries across the state of Ohio, however, has left citizens wondering how safe amusement parks truly are.
There is truly no tracking system for amusement park injuries, according to Tracy Mehan—the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Manager of Translational Research. Even with data piled together from amusement parks across the nation, there is little more than a best guess about the numbers and types of injuries because there is no way to track the number of bruises and broken bones caused from amusement park rides. Many amusement parks keep track of this data themselves, but in privately owned amusement parks, there is no way to obtain this data. For example, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio employs their own police department and paramedics, so the information about who they treat and what the injured parties are being treated for never becomes public information. Having this information readily available would make it easy to hold amusement parks accountable for their role in the injuries, but finding this information often proves incredibly difficult.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture requires that amusement parks, such as Cedar Point or Kings Island which are considered stationary, disclose an incident within 24 hours if it resulted in an overnight hospital stay. Over the last five years, the majority of the documented injuries had nothing to do with the rides, but with the passengers healt—injuries such as dizziness, heart attacks, and elevated heart levels. Parks often struggle to determine if an incident should be reported within the 24-hour timeframe because they lose track of the injured person after that person goes to the hospital. If the injured person goes to the hospital and does not report that the injury was sustained at an amusement park, the amusement park and outside researchers do not see that case at all—making it difficult to research and prevent similar injuries.
Amusement parks’ privatized paramedics cannot transport injured riders to the hospital, which means that the parks have to call the local ambulances. In 2017, the Sandusky EMS call log shows five trips in six months to Cedar Point for injuries such as a broken leg, dislocated knee, and head injuries, but none of these incidents were reported to the state.
However, public amusement parks, such as county fairs, operate under different standards. In 2017, the state of Ohio saw a fair ride malfunction that killed one party and injured several others. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that 30,900 injuries caused by amusement park attractions were seen by hospital emergency departments in 2016 alone, as reported by NBC News. In the state of Ohio, the Department of Agriculture oversees all amusement park rides, but other states do not conduct any oversight at all.
Inspectors, ride operators, owners, and subcontractors can all be held liable in amusement park injures. Each amusement park ride has multiple moving, breakable parts, especially those rides that are taken down and put back up on a regular basis—such as county festivals and fairs.
Amusement park consultant and inspector Ken Martin believes that amusement parks can—and should—do a better job at inspecting and regulating rides nationwide.
Many riders and parents of riders simply assume that the rides at amusement parks are safe and that they are being inspected, so the best thing that riders and parents can learn is how the rides are being inspected in their individual state, as well as who is inspecting these rides and how often so that they can make an informed, educated decision about whether to take the risk of riding.
If you or a loved one has been injured at an amusement park due to malfunctioning rides, call the experienced injury attorneys of Rinehardt Law Firm at (419) 529-2020 today for a consultation. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.
Rinehardt Law Firm is the answer to your personal injury. Our team of attorneys and case managers have represented clients in in Columbus and throughout central and north central Ohio for years. We treat every new client as if they were part of our family by providing clear communication, building a strong relationship, and using our experience to provide legal guidance that’s in their best interests. We offer free consultations with no obligation, so don’t hesitate to contact our team about your legal matter.