Amusement Park Accidents
Southern California's amusement and theme parks are a major attraction for tourists, and millions of people vacation with the purpose of visiting them. Amusement park accidents are relatively rare, but when they occur the injuries may be devastating or even fatal. Owners of amusement parks try to attract visitors by providing fast, scary thrills, and this results in rollercoasters and rides that may be risky. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) is charged with regulating and inspecting these rides, but injuries and deaths occur each year because of operator negligence, defective designs, mechanical failures, improper repairs and maintenance, or negligent training. If you are injured in an amusement park accident, you should consult a Los Angeles premises liability lawyer at Sharifi Firm.Pursuing Compensation for an Amusement Park Accident
How to hold an amusement park liable for an accident depends on how you were injured. If you were hurt on the property but not on a ride, it may be appropriate to bring a premises liability claim. Property owners, such as amusement parks, owe a duty to make sure that they either repair or provide warnings about dangerous conditions on their premises that could result in harm to visitors. For example, if you slip and fall on a slippery substance while walking through a theme park, you would need to show that you were an invitee of the park, that the park knew or should have known about the slippery substance and the potential danger, and that the park either failed to provide warnings or fix the situation so that you could avoid getting hurt.
Moreover, if you are hurt on a ride, you may have a claim against both the park and the manufacturer of the ride. You would need to determine the cause of the accident to know whether both parties should be sued for compensation. Often, an amusement park conducts its own investigation of an accident. But if you are injured on a ride or even while walking around, it is important to retain an attorney who can conduct an independent inspection with a safety expert to determine the cause of the accident. This should be done as soon as possible to make sure that the evidence is preserved. Over time, witnesses may be hard to track down, and their memories may fade. In some cases, surveillance tape is recorded over.
In many cases, accidents on rides occur because of negligence on the part of the park—either negligent training or negligent operation of the ride. When accidents occur on amusement park rides, you can hold the park to the common carrier standard of care. Rides are considered transit vehicles, and their owners need to use the utmost diligence and care for the safety of their passengers. This is a higher standard of care than the standard of care owed by ordinary drivers on the road, for example. Generally, to establish the park's negligence, you will need to show the park's duty of care to you, the park's breach of duty, causation, and actual damages.
In some cases, however, a park uses reasonable care, and the problem is with the ride itself. In that case, you may need to bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or designer of the ride. To bring a product liability lawsuit based on strict liability, you will need to prove there was a design, marketing, or manufacturing defect, and the defect caused your injuries. An expert may be necessary for this type of claim.
For the most part, California does not directly regulate permanent amusement rides. Instead, these are regulated by local building codes. If a park has failed to abide by a local building code in connection with a permanent amusement ride on which you were injured, it may be held responsible under a theory of negligence per se or negligence as a matter of law. Private companies also establish certain standards related to the design and construction of these rides.
Mobile amusement rides are regulated by the state of California under the Amusement Rides Safety Law. Mobile amusement rides are mechanical devices that carry passengers over a fixed or restricted route for the purpose of giving the passengers pleasure, excitement, and thrills. However, permanent amusement rides are exempt from this law, as are coin-operated devices, pony rides, and playground equipment.Contact a Los Angeles Lawyer for a Premises Liability Claim
At Sharifi Firm, APC, our Los Angeles attorneys can evaluate who may be responsible for an amusement park accident and seek to hold the appropriate parties accountable under the applicable laws. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation with an injury attorney. We also represent accident victims in Rancho Cucamonga, Temecula, Riverside, and San Bernardino, as well as other Southern California cities.