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Common Amusement Park Injuries

Posted by Emily Ruby | Jun 20, 2024 | 0 Comments

Common injuries at amusement parks are an unfortunate reality. While these parks are designed for fun and excitement, accidents can and do happen. As someone who's spent years looking into the world of amusement park safety, I can tell you firsthand it's more complicated than it seems. You've got mechanical factors, human error, and even the behavior of parkgoers themselves, all coming together.

Injury at amusement park

In 2019 alone, there were around 1,299 amusement park injuries reported in the U.S. alone. That number represents real people dealing with unexpected pain, medical bills, and even long-term consequences. While most theme parks strive to provide safe experiences, some fail to provide a reasonable level of safety. Understanding the common injuries associated with these venues can encourage a more safety-conscious mindset. So, what should you watch out for when enjoying your day at the park?

Table Of Contents:

Common Types of Amusement Park Injuries

Unfortunately, many different types of injuries can occur at amusement parks, ranging from mild to severe. You've got your slips and falls, whiplash from jerky rides, or even more serious stuff like head trauma or broken bones. Don't think water parks are off the hook either. People forget that drowning is a possibility when water safety isn't taken seriously.

Head and Neck Injuries

One of the more common amusement park accidents we see involves head and neck injuries. I'm talking whiplash from sudden stops on roller coasters, bumping your head on restraints, or even getting hit by loose objects on rides. In fact, according to the Nationwide Children's Hospital, as many as 28% of amusement park injuries in children involve the head and neck. That's a staggering statistic. This underscores how crucial it is to have proper headrests, follow safety instructions to the letter, and be mindful of surroundings. 

Broken Bones and Fractures

When you think of high speeds and forces involved in amusement park rides, it's no surprise that broken bones and fractures are potential risks. Malfunctions, improper restraints, or even exiting a ride too quickly can lead to these types of injuries.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Sprains, strains, and tears — these are the unfortunate souvenirs no one wants to take home from an amusement park. These injuries can stem from the same factors mentioned earlier — abrupt movements, improper use of safety equipment, and slips and falls within park grounds.

Drowning Accidents

Water parks, while fun and refreshing (for the most part), bring their own set of inherent risks, most notably drowning. This applies not only to large wave pools but also to lazy rivers where even seemingly calm waters can be dangerous if safety protocols are ignored. According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission study, from 1997-2003 thousands of injuries occurred at amusement parks and water parks, reinforcing the point that water safety is paramount and should never be underestimated.

Contributing Factors to Common injuries at amusement parks

There is a shared responsibility when it comes to amusement park safety. I believe a large portion of accidents happen because parks cut corners or aren't careful enough.

Negligence of Park Owners and Operators

Amusement park owners and ride operators have a huge responsibility for their visitors' safety. This includes maintaining rides diligently, sticking to strict inspection schedules, training staff thoroughly, and responding swiftly to accidents. I always say that cutting corners on safety measures is not only unethical but also sets the stage for preventable accidents.

Defective Rides and Equipment

Rides, like any machinery, age and wear down. Park management has a responsibility to retire or repair those not up to par. If a ride malfunctions and injures a parkgoer, everyone's in for a legal mess. It's a reminder that these are complex machines with lots that can go wrong, impacting visitor safety.

Rider Negligence and Behavior

Look, as much as we want to trust amusement parks, sometimes visitors need to own their part in accidents too. Disregarding posted safety rules, riding under the influence, or not using restraints correctly is like asking for trouble. Remember those signs they make you read? Those aren't optional decorations.

When these rules are followed and injuries still occur, the parks may be held liable for damages that you or your loved ones experienced.

FAQs About Common Injuries at Amusement Parks

What are the most common injuries on roller coasters?

Roller coasters often result in head and neck injuries due to sudden stops and sharp turns, causing whiplash. Make sure to follow the park's safety guidelines, wear appropriate clothing, secure loose articles, and stay seated. If these rules were followed, you should contact an attorney you trust.

What is the most common cause of amusement park accidents?

Negligence from park owners and ride operators, alongside defective rides and equipment are the most common cause of accidents. Operators need to regularly inspect and maintain all rides. Implement and strictly enforce safety rules and rider guidelines.

What are the odds of an amusement park accident?

Industry groups like the IAAPA highlight how statistically rare severe incidents are, however, underreporting of common amusement park accidents skews these statistics making it difficult to determine actual odds. Despite reported numbers, remaining aware of the inherent risks associated with amusement rides is critical.

Amusement Park Injury Evaluation

While common injuries at amusement parks are a reality, being aware, taking precautions, and being informed are great ways to help mitigate risk. As we've seen, a lot of responsibility falls on parks to keep things safe and up to code. But you play a role, too. By using common sense, being respectful of safety rules, and speaking up if you see something off, you contribute to a safer, more enjoyable experience for everyone. Amusement parks should be about creating memories, not medical bills.

If you suffered injuries as a result of the park's negligence, we can help. Give us a call, use our chat option, or fill out our form and we'll evaluate your case with you for free.

About the Author

Emily Ruby

2022 "Women in Law" Award Winner, Emily Ruby, specializes in complex cases, many of which involve catastrophic injuries and deaths. Mrs. Ruby has personally obtained more than $100 Million in compensation for her clients with an impressive 97.4% success rate and is a graduate of the prestigious CAALA Trial Academy. She was selected as one of Forbes' Best Wrongful Death Lawyers and is a writer for Advocate Magazine.

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