Amusement and Theme Park Ride Accident Injury Statistics

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What to Do in Case of Amusement Park Accidents?

What to Do in Case of Amusement Park Accidents?

Oct 28, 2021

Whether it’s Disneyland in Anaheim, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, or Universal Studios in Hollywood, Southern California has no shortage of amusement and theme parks. When you visit an amusement park, it’s understood that the facility adheres to what’s known as a duty of care in personal injury law. This, in effect, is a responsibility to maintain safe and properly functioning rides and equipment at all times – ensuring they do not pose a danger to the public.

When an amusement park ride causes an injury, the affected individual may be entitled to substantial financial compensation through a civil lawsuit. Below we will review some statistics on amusement and theme park ride accident injuries (and, in some tragic cases, fatalities), discuss what damages may be recoverable after an accident, and provide information on how to file a civil claim with the experienced and trusted attorneys at Dordulian Law Group.

Amusement and Theme Park Ride Accident Statistics

In 2016, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that 30,000 injuries linked to amusement park ride accidents occurred and led to emergency room visits. However, as CNN reported, experts warn that data on amusement park safety is limited and regulations are inconsistent. Furthermore, headlines confirming another accident leading to either a serious injury or fatality at an amusement park are a regular occurrence.

While stories of negligence and lax safety protocols at amusement parks like those featured in HBO’s recent documentary, “Class Action Park,” are not necessarily the norm in today’s age, accidents involving injuries/fatalities still occur regularly.

In the U.S., the following amusement park fatality statistics have been confirmed:

  • Between 1987 and 2000, there were an estimated 4.5 amusement ride-related deaths per year.
  • Between 1990 and 2004, there were 52 deaths associated with amusement park rides (3.7 per year).
  • Three deaths occurred in 2001; two deaths occurred in 2002; and three deaths occurred in 2003.

Additionally, the following amusement park injury statistics have been confirmed:

  • Every day, from May through September in each year between 1990-2010, an average of 20 injuries by amusement park guests under 18 years of age that required hospitalization were recorded.
  • In 2011, 1,204 people were injured at 400 amusement parks.

Noteworthy Amusement and Theme Park Ride Accidents

Amusement park ride accidents that lead to injuries and/or fatalities are not uncommon. Some of the more well-known accidents involving amusement park rides are as follows:

– In July 2017, CNN reported that one person was killed and seven more were injured after a ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus (a piece of the Fire Ball ride reportedly broke apart mid-air).

– CNN also reported that a 2016 water slide accident in Kansas City resulted in the tragic death of a 10-year-old boy.

– In another 2016 amusement park accident, three girls were reportedly injured at a fair in Tennessee after falling from a Ferris wheel.

– In 2015, a man died at an Ohio amusement park after jumping over a fence in a restricted area and being struck by a roller coaster.

– CNN also reported that a similar incident happened at a Georgia Six Flags park in 2008, where a fatality occurred as a result of a parkgoer entering a restricted area and being struck by a ride.

– In 2007, a teenager tragically lost both of her feet after a ride malfunctioned at a Kentucky Six Flags park.

Furthermore, CNN’s report indicated that in 2015, the amusement park association’s annual safety survey confirmed an alarming 1508 ride-related injuries among park attendees who took part in various types of rides. That figure – 1508 ride-related injuries – actually represented a 32% increase from the previous year.

But as CNN confirmed, the International Association for Amusement Parks only collects data on fixed-site amusement parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studios where the rides are “permanent fixtures.” Accidents occurring at mobile amusement parks that move from location-to-location like the aforementioned Ohio fair (and countless other carnivals, state fairs, etc.) are not included in the above data – meaning those figures are likely vastly underestimated.

As Tracy Mehan, a translational research manager at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, told CNN in a 2017 interview, a coordinated federal effort to collect data is needed to ensure amusement park ride safety.

Right now it is hard to get a clear picture of what is happening because there is a patchwork system of regulation and enforcement,” Mehan, who conducted a 2013 study on child injuries at amusement parks, told CNN. “We need a national injury reporting system for all mobile and fixed-site rides that will allow for better surveillance and consistent enforcement of standards.”

Said study, which analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, found that from 1990 to 2010, an estimated 92,885 children under 17 years of age sought treatment in U.S. hospital emergency departments for injuries involving amusement rides. That data means that an annual average of 4423 amusement park ride accident injuries are recorded.

Mehan’s study also confirmed the following statistics:

  • The average annual injury rate was 6.24 injuries per 100,000 U.S. children.
  • The mean patient age was 8.73 years.
  • The head and neck were the most commonly injured body regions (28.0%).
  • The most common type of injury was a soft tissue injury (29.4%).
  • Falling in, on, off, or against the ride was the most frequent mechanism of injury (31.7%).
  • Only 1.5% of injuries resulted in hospitalization.

In conclusion, Mehan found that “an improved national system for monitoring injuries involving amusement rides is needed.

Common Amusement Park Ride Accident Injuries

When amusement park ride accidents occur, serious injuries can result. Some of the more common injuries reported after amusement park ride accidents include:

  • Head and neck injuries
  • Loss of limb/amputation
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Concussion (MTBI)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Paralysis
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Fatalities

In instances where an amusement park ride injury occurs, the victim may be entitled to significant financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit with Dordulian Law Group (DLG). In tragic cases where a fatality occurs as a result of an amusement park ride accident, the surviving family members may be able to recover financial compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit with DLG.

What Damages are Recoverable After an Amusement Park Ride Injury?

Some of the more common damages recoverable after an amusement park ride accident injury are as follows:

  • Hospital and medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Physical therapy costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Psychological distress
  • Emotional trauma

Some common damages recoverable through a wrongful death claim include:

  • The financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family during their lifetime
  • The loss of gifts or benefits the heirs could have expected to receive from the deceased
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • The reasonable value of household services the deceased would have provided
  • Medical bills and other expenses incurred
  • Value of lost benefits, such as the decedent’s pension or health insurance
  • Compensation for the loss of the deceased’s companionship and support
  • Loss of affection
  • Loss of moral support

California wrongful death lawsuits typically do not include punitive damages, as state law stipulates they only be awarded in cases of serious or malicious wrongdoing in an effort to punish the liable party. However, when applicable, punitive damages are not capped in the state of California. DLG pursues punitive damages in all applicable cases.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for an Amusement Park Ride Injury?

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for an Amusement Park Ride Injury?

In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims (including amusement park ride accidents) is almost always two years from the date that the incident occurred. In some cases, however, such as when an injured victim is pursuing a claim against a government entity or other specific at-fault party, the statute of limitations could be much shorter (sometimes only six months).

Accordingly, it is recommended that amusement park ride injury victims contact an experienced DLG lawyer immediately following an accident. Taking immediate action will increase your chances of success and also ensure your amusement park injury claim is filed timely, properly, and in accordance with all state and local regulations.

Why Choose DLG to Obtain Justice in Your Amusement Park Ride Injury Lawsuit?

Founded by former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian, DLG is California’s leading personal injury attorneys with experience and proven results that simply can’t be matched by most other firms. As a Deputy District Attorney, Dordulian helped victims obtain justice in criminal cases – obtaining life sentences against some of our community’s most dangerous criminals. Today, Dordulian helps injured victims recover maximum financial compensation for all types of accidents, including those involving amusement park rides.

At DLG, our experience and proven results speak volumes:

  • More than $100,000,000 recovered in settlements and verdicts
  • A 98% success record
  • More than 100 jury trial victories
  • Former Deputy District Attorney for L.A. County
  • In-house Chief Investigator/retired LAPD detective
  • More than 25 years of personal injury experience

We provide each and every client with the professionalism, personalized attention, and compassion they deserve. To file a claim, contact an experienced, trusted, and proven amusement park ride accident injury attorney from DLG today for a free and no obligation consultation at 818-322-4056.

Go See Sam