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Amusement Park Rides and Personal Injury Claims

Posted on: September 5, 2014

Funnel cake, Ferris wheels, pageants – many people in Maryland look forward to the state and county fairs held in late August and early September. These events, including the Maryland State Fair, are a celebration of community. However, fair rides and attractions – while exciting – bring with them the possibility of accidents and injuries.

Take, for example, a recent lawsuit filed against Trimper’s Rides and Amusements, a historic amusement park located in Ocean City, Maryland.

According to the complaint, 2-year-old Jadyn Brewer was riding on the “Hampton I,” a ride where children sit in cars and trucks while they rotate in a circle. The operator stopped the ride temporarily to let a child off. While the ride was stopped, Jadyn exited his car. The operator then resumed the ride and Jadyn was hit by one of the vehicles, fracturing his skull on the pavement and suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The lawsuit alleges that Jadyn’s injuries are the result of the negligence of the ride operator, who failed to check if the tracks were clear before resuming the ride.

These types of accidents are not limited to small fair-type rides, although these types of rides are subject to uncertain safety regulation and inspection. Accidents can also occur at larger amusement parks – just ask the two dozen people who were rescued from a Maryland Six Flags roller coaster this month.

Fair and Amusement-Park Related Injuries

In total, 4,400 kids each year are injured on amusement park and carnival rides. This amounts to roughly 20 kids each day. The most common injuries are:

  • Head injuries, such as concussions;
  • Neck injuries from whiplash;
  • Soft tissue injuries, such as muscle sprains and strains; and
  • Cuts.

In addition, a recent study found that children between 0 and 5 were the most likely to be hurt. These children are about twice as likely as others to suffer from concussions and cuts.

Personal Injury Law

Although serious injuries from amusement rides are less common than minor bruises and scrapes, they do occur. Causes of injuries can include:

  • Rider horseplay;
  • Ride malfunction;
  • Falling/tripping;
  • Improper restraints; and
  • Operator negligence;

In Maryland, a personal injury lawsuit filed against a ride owner, operator, or amusement park will usually rest upon the theory of negligence. A negligence lawsuit requires the following four elements: a duty of care, breach of that duty, causation, and damages. Generally, people owe one another a “reasonable” degree of care. However, in instances where a person, such as an amusement park operator, owns or is renting the land, they may be subject to a heightened duty of care.

Justin Katz is a personal injury lawyer who represents injury victims in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC
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