According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), millions of people visit carnivals, fairs, and amusement parks every year. Although most of these people leave with good memories, too many leave with serious injuries caused by amusement park accidents.
There are around 31,000 injuries caused by amusement park rides annually; this includes injuries serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. When victims of negligent amusement parks seek restitution for their injuries, a common defense amusement parks raise is that the visitor “assumed the risk” of injury. This defense is generally not viable in New Jersey.
Assumption of risk is a legal defense where a Defendant argues that they should not be held liable for their negligence because patrons voluntarily and knowingly assume the risk of injury. There are limited situations in New Jersey where this defense can be invoked—for example, skiing, roller-skating, and horseback riding activities. In these situations, the state Legislature has determined that participants assume a risk, and the defense can be invoked to shield the owner or instructor from liability. Though allowed, the defense is not always successful. Individuals injured in one of these scenarios should consult an experienced New Jersey accident lawyer to determine if they may have a valid claim.
Assumption of risk is generally not a defense for amusement park accidents in New Jersey.
Children are injured more frequently than adults on amusement park rides, and those between the ages of ten and 14 are the most often injured. Nearly 20 percent of all amusement park accident injuries happen to children in this age bracket. It is hard to imagine that a child of this age could be said to assume the risk of injury by going on an amusement park ride.
According to the CPSC, the most common cause of amusement park accidents is mechanical failure. For instance, lap bars can become detached during a ride, sending the rider falling from a height or flying into metal; or structural failure. These accidents can happen as a result of improper maintenance of the ride, or a manufacturing defect.
Another common cause of accidents includes unsafe operation of the ride. For example, if a ride operator fails to safely buckle passengers in, or is not paying attention to the controls, riders could be ejected from the ride or become trapped in between parts. It is not uncommon for operators to accidentally bring the ride to a complete stop, causing whiplash or similar types of injury.
An experienced New Jersey premises liability lawyer can determine who is responsible for your injuries and hold them accountable. With the soaring costs of amusement park entry, we have a right to expect that the rides are safe and well maintained. Amusement park rides can be dangerous. When coupled with water, the risk of injury is even greater, with a large number of people suffering serious slip and fall accidents at water parks every year.
If you or someone you love has been injured, call us today to schedule a consultation with one of the veteran New Jersey amusement park accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. We routinely handle all types of premises liability actions, including amusement park accidents. Contact us online or call 732-777-0100 for a free consultation. With offices located in Red Bank, Edison and Toms River, we represent clients throughout the state of New Jersey.