Amusement Park and Carnival Injuries
Amusement park and carnival rides can cause serious injuries and often happen to children. When there is an injury or a fatality from riding an amusement park ride or carnival ride such as a roller coaster, plunge water ride, or spinning ride, a personal injury or wrongful death claim may arise under the law of premises liability.
GEORGIA PREMISES LIABILITY LAW
In Georgia, premises liability law allows patrons of amusement parks and carnivals to hold the owners and operators of such places responsible for injuries and even wrongful death arising from dangerous rides. Under the law, operators of such theme parks have the obligation to act reasonably to protect their customers safe from dangerous conditions, including rides that they know are dangerous and likely to cause injuries or death. If an operator of a carnival or amusement park knows that a particular ride is dangerous and does not take reasonable steps to address and curb the danger and a customer subsequently becomes injured or dies, the operator can be held liable.
For example, many amusement park and carnival rides have minimum height and weight requirements in order to prevent children or others who do not meet those standards from harm. Operators of such rides should know those requirements and that the purpose of the requirements are to prevent danger to their customers. Failure to post warning signs, failure to implement rules and regulations to make sure that riders meet the requirements, and failure to train employees to follow the rules and regulations are all ways in which amusement park and carnival operators can be held liable for resulting injuries.
GEORGIA AMUSEMENT RIDE SAFETY ACT AND CARNIVAL RIDE SAFETY ACT
Another example of a way that an amusement park or carnival operator can be held liable for personal injuries or death is the failure to comply with rules and regulations under the law with regard to amusement ride safety. The Georgia legislature enacted two laws, the Amusement Ride Safety Act” and the “Carnival Ride Safety Act,” which outline code regulations for the maintenance, inspection, licensing, and operating for amusement park and carnival rides.
The Georgia Office of Safety Fire Commissioner is responsible for overseeing and enforcing these laws as to amusement parks and carnivals. If an amusement park or carnival breaks these rules, then the Safety Fire Commissioner may order the amusement park or carnival to stop all operations under the dangerous conditions found are repaired or corrected. The Safety Fire Commissioner is also authorized to penalize the amusement park or carnival for up to $5,000.00 for violating the rules. These rules were enacted to ensure the safety of the public and can be relied upon by plaintiffs in personal injury cases to point out and support claims of negligence against amusement parks and carnivals. However, an injured party’s civil claim is separate from any actions by the Safety Fire Commissioner.
USING THE GEORGIA AMUSEMENT RIDE SAFETY ACT AND CARNIVAL RIDE SAFETY ACT IN A CIVIL SUIT
For example, let’s say a child falls out of an amusement park ride and suffers from a head injury because she is not properly buckled into the seat. The child’s mother brings a claim against the amusement park for the child’s injuries. Our firm’s investigation of the case reveals that the person operating the ride was only 15-year-old and is handling rides for two different rides right next to each other in the amusement park. We look to the Amusement Ride Safety Act for guidance and find that, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 25-15-60, amusement ride operators are required to be at least sixteen (16) years old and cannot operate more than one ride at a time. The amusement park’s violation of this rule can be used in the child’s personal injury case in order to prove up negligence of the amusement park.
OTHER EVIDENCE THAT NEEDS TO BE PROVEN IN A GEORGIA PREMISES LIABILITY CASE
In addition to showing that the amusement park or carnival knew about a danger and failed to act to prevent the danger, a claimant in this type of case must also show that the failure to act caused the injury or death. Finally, the claimant must show some type of “damage,” which can range from lost wages to medical bills incurred to pain and suffering.
As you can see, bringing a premises liability claim against an amusement park or carnival for injuries or death that occurs because of the poor maintenance, management, or operation of a dangerous ride can be quite complex under Georgia law. The attorneys at Dixon Davis LLC have handled similar cases and can quickly evaluate, investigate, and prosecute these claims. If you or a loved one needs to speak to one of our attorneys about a potential amusement park or carnival case, please call us at (404) 733-1166.