Amusement parks are commonly associated with fun and entertainment. However, there are some risks involved with amusement park rides and carnival rides. While fatal accidents are rare, around 30,000 people will sustain an injury at a park each year. These injuries vary in severity, and these injuries may result in an amusement park personal injury case.
There are differences in the process of reporting injuries sustained on a ride, depending on the location and the type of amusement park (permanent and non-permanent). In Florida, all theme parks are obligated to report any injury or illness that results in a hospital stay of at least 24 hours. Permanent parks such as Disney World are monitored by local and state agencies that establish procedures for reporting and inspections. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) oversees accidents at non-permanent parks such as carnivals.
The most dangerous amusement park resulted in several personal injury lawsuits. This park was Action Park in New Jersey. Six people died there in the span of seven years. In addition, from 1984 to 1985, this park reported 26 head injuries and 14 broken bone injuries. All of these accidents and multiple lawsuits ultimately resulted in the park’s closure.
Sadly, people have died at amusement parks. Many are the result of a pre-existing medical condition rather than the ride itself. However, there are instances where the death was a direct result of the ride. For example, in 2016 a 10-year-old boy was decapitated in a water slide accident at a Kansas water park. From 1990 to 2004, the rate of death at an amusement park was roughly four per year. Now, there are roughly 10 deaths each year associated with an amusement park ride.
In 2013, Nationwide Children’s Hospital conducted a survey on youth injuries at amusement parks. They concluded that: most injuries included arms, face, and legs, 32% of injuries were caused by a fall, and 18% were caused by hitting an object. They also found that 29% of injuries were soft-tissue injuries such as sprains, while only 10% resulted in a broken bone.
There are different causes of amusement park injuries. One cause is mistakes from ride operators such as not following procedures properly. Another cause is lack of maintenance that results in machinery malfunction – mechanical failures are a common cause of roller coaster injuries. Lastly, guest negligence may result in an injury such as not following ride instructions.
Walt Disney World (Orlando, FL): Walt Disney World reported 8 incidents of injury in 2020. In 2019, they reported 27 incidents at their theme park. From 2016 to 2020, Walt Disney World reported 122 injuries. Walt Disney World has reported 22 deaths at their theme park from 2006 to 2020. Some of their most recent accidents include:
● 2019: A 40-year-old guest having a seizure and falling after riding Star Wars: The Adventures Continues. This gentleman did have a pre-existing condition.
● 2021: A 58-year-old man passed out and died after exiting Spaceship Earth. This gentleman also had a pre-existing condition.
● 2021: A 66-year-old woman fell and broke her wrist while exiting the Haunted Mansion ride.
Universal Studios (Orlando, FL): While the exact number of injuries is unknown, there have been reports of injuries due to negligence from ride operators at this theme park. Their waterpark, Volcano Bay, has also reported multiple injuries due to falls. The most common injuries at Universal Studios are head/neck injuries, broken bones, and cuts. Some of their most recent accidents include:
● 2017: A 13-year-old girl suffered a head injury at Volcano Bay on their Puihi slide. She fell out of the raft and was trapped under it. Her family filed a lawsuit against the theme park as a result of this accident.
● 2019: An 11-year-old boy broke multiple bones on the E.T Adventure Ride when his foot became stuck between a platform and vehicle. This resulted in the attraction making significant changes in their operational procedures.
The following tips will help ensure your safety: follow all instructions and requirements specified by each ride and/or operator, keep all limbs inside the ride vehicle such as arms and legs, and make sure that all seatbelts and safety bars fit correctly. Lastly, always trust your instincts and report anything abnormal to the ride operator.
First, seek urgent medical attention to minimize any complications from your injuries. Most theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, have EMS and medical services for minor injuries such as cuts. In addition, report any injuries immediately after the accident to the ride operator. It is also beneficial to document your injuries and the accident scene. This can be done by taking pictures and videos from various angles. Lastly, an experienced amusement park attorney can help your personal injury case.
If you were injured in an amusement park ride in Orlando or Central Florida, reach out to Todd Miner Law®️ to learn how we can help. With over 31 years of experience, Todd is here to answer any questions you may have about theme park accidents and help you seek the fair compensation you deserve. Contact us today through our contact form. Or call us at (407) 894-1480 to request a free consultation.